The Ergosphere
Saturday, February 19, 2011
 

Rail electrification costs from Alan Drake

Just copying info received, for reference.

Message 1:

New Haven to Boston (AMtrak > Gov't contracting) electrified @ 2000 at $2.3 million/mile for mainly double track, some triple track. Populated almost all the way and very curvy (route along CN shore for much of way), both of which add costs ($200,000/mile for flagging !!)

I use $2 million/mile for single track and $2.5 million for double track with "round up" for large projects.

Combining electrification with HV transmission should reduce costs for both (certain % common towers).

Russia electrifies at $700,000 to $900,000/km (double track). Fewer people but extreme remoteness and extreme climate do add costs. No EIS required#

# Sierra Club is supportive of modified/simplified EIS for rail electrification, recognizing that rail ROW is already heavily impacted.

Message 2:

I stored this data (but forgot to mark where from, something I now do).

Russian Federal Railways) approximately $750,000 - 800,000 per kilometer to put a two-track line under AC wire (25kV, 50Hz).

the New Haven-Boston electrification cost about USD2.3m per route-mile (double track ie approximately USD0.7m per track-km) for "plain" track (no movable bridges, etc), broken down approximately as follows:

Design: $190,000
TPS--substations (@ $5/unit): $125,000
TPS--auto-transformers ($1.5/unit): $9,500
OCS @ $640,000/track mile: $1280,000
Signal Compatability/SCADA: $140,000
Flagging Protection: $200,000 [Outrageous]
Property Acquisitions: $30,000
Project Management: $90,000

Design/Build Cost Total: $2.3 million per route mile.

[OCS = "Overhead Contact System" = Catenary wires and supports.
"TPS" = "Traction Power System" = 4 25hv 60hz 80mvA substations and 21 autotransformers for a total of 360 track miles, 157 route-miles]
--------
Double track requires two OCS/track mile @ $640,000/mile. Single track one. The rest is about the same. Maybe less design and project management costs.

Again, gov't contracting costs. 
Comments:
Ok What is the point? What is the oil price at which the change over saves money?
 
The UK's East Coast Main Line electrification at the beginning of the 1990s cost £215,000 a single track kilometre (for a four tracked, very high traffic route with speeds of 125-140mph for top express trains and 90mph fast freight). Number includes civil works.

That's $555,000 a mile at today's exchange rate.

The ECML alignment is pretty straight and pretty flat (it's the old Great Northern Railway route), but that's hardly unknown in the US. More recent small projects have come in between £200,000-£260,000 on the same terms.
 
"What is the point? What is the oil price at which the change over saves money?"

That depends on the amount of traffic on a line and other factors (such as local property taxes on improvements).  Property taxes were a big factor in the decision of railroads to convert many double-track lines to single-track a couple decades ago.

Alan Drake has calculated that electrification of the lines which carry the bulk of ton-miles is profitable today.  Railroads may not have moved on this because they already have a large cost advantage in carriage of bulk cargo and availability of petroleum is not yet a factor; predatory local governments and property taxes are, sadly.

Thanks much for the figures, Alex.
 
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