RailHaul debuts its self-propelled, electric railed side-dump ore car

RailHaul’s electric, self-propelled, side dump ore car offers significant savings over truck haulage and near-zero CO2 emissions. Credit: RHT RailHaul Technologies

RHT RailHaul Technologies has completed the design, manufacture, and assembly of its first battery powered demonstration rail car.   

The RailHaul heavy haul rail car provides an alternative to heavy haul diesel mine trucks to save mining companies millions of dollars in haulage costs while also accelerating their progress to reduce green-house gases.

RailHaul’s initial vehicle is based on a traditional side dump rail car. RailHaul has added its unique battery electric propulsion system as well as a remote operating and control system. Utilizing off-the-shelf components to provide for low cost and high reliability, the RailHaul vehicle is revolutionary in its design and what it will achieve.

Rail based vehicles are inherently more efficient than trucking, and RailHaul is working to bring its technology not only to the mining sector but also to help improve the efficiency at ports, and to improve access to remote communities and critical resources. Studies of mining clients’ haul routes have revealed potential cost savings of 30% to 40% and a reduction of CO2 emission up to 95%. This is consistent with long-term results from the conversion of urban diesel buses from diesel to battery electric.

Operational and validation trials of RailHaul’s demonstration vehicle are underway that include testing of RailHaul’s proprietary AC traction system. Initial results show design and performance expectations are being achieved. Once operational trials are completed, this initial demonstration vehicle will serve as RailHaul’s rolling platform for innovation. It will provide a test bed for RailHaul and its partners to apply future generation designs and other technologies including advanced semi-autonomous control and hydrogen power systems.

The RailHaul system is based on a self-propelled heavy haul rail vehicle, controlled remotely or semi-autonomously and operated individually or in a multiple unit combination of powered and unpowered rail cars. The vehicles are highly configurable and provide for distributed power and energy harvesting capability. This enables the vehicle to climb much steeper grades at higher speeds for added productivity than traditional rail or truck systems. The initial focus is for open-pit mining applications,
ports, and remote communities where the operating duty cycles strongly benefit from RailHaul’s innovative approach.

RailHaul’s commercial vehicle is planned to be available next year for demonstrations at mining sites and rail maintenance locations to show how it can handle steep grades, extreme conditions, and validate its environmental benefits and economic value.

Work on RailHaul’s next generation design is already underway with production planned for the middle of 2023. The next vehicle will incorporate additional technologies for remote operation along with the learnings from today’s demonstration unit.

Watch the RailHaul self-propelled, battery powered side dump ore rail car on YouTube.

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