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Critical biomass

Hard working designers at Lloyd’s Register Rail UK and W H Davis have developed a new biomass wagon, one of the largest of its kind.

Says Richard Gibney, Professional Head of Traction and Rolling Stock, Lloyd’s Register Rail UK, ‘This is the sort of project that designers relish. An opportunity to return to an existing design and re-imagine the entire concept, taking advantage of what we have learnt from the performance of the current model, removing some of the inefficiencies and delivering a truly optimised design.’

The wagon will transport biomass from the ports of Tyne, Hull and Immingham to Drax Power Station, near Selby, for use in generating low carbon, renewable electricity.

At 18.9m long with top doors stretching 18.2m and bottom doors of 3.7m, the supersize wagon has a capacity of 116 cubic metres allowing a biomass load weighing 71.6 tonnes. Its volume is almost 30 per cent bigger than any freight wagon currently used in the UK.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, at York’s National Railway Museum Peter Emery, Drax’s production director said, ‘Our transformation to become one of Europe’s largest renewable generators through the use of sustainable biomass means we need new, bigger and better rail wagons.

‘We need to keep the biomass dry, move more of it and speed up the process of delivery. The finished product is an industry- leading design and fulfils all the criteria we set. We may be launching it in a museum but this wagon is no museum piece and will not be surpassed for many years to come.’

Vehicle manufacturers WH Davis met the design specification by working to a measurement tolerance of 5mm, the highest possible and half that normally associated with wagon manufacturing.

Ian Whelpton, sales and marketing director of WH Davis said, ‘This has been one of the most challenging fabrications we have undertaken, but by working with the wagon designers from the beginning, we have been able to manufacture the required innovations and achieve the significantly increased cubic capacity.’

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