• News

MTU Onsite Energy Standby Power System helps Northstar

Written by admin

Passengers riding Minnesota's new Northstar Commuter Rail depend on well-maintained trains for a fast, safe and reliable commute along the 40-mile run between downtown Minneapolis and the northwest suburbs. The MTU Onsite Energy standby power system serves the line's only maintenance facility, where trains are serviced, repaired and even washed.

Minnesota’s first commuter
rail line, which began operation in November 2009, is expected to carry up to
3,400 passengers a day during the first year of operation, helping to reduce
traffic congestion as well as commuter travel time. At a cost of $320 million,
Northstar Rail includes six new train stations and an 80,000-square-foot vehicle
maintenance facility where diesel-electric engines and passenger cars are
serviced and even washed. Because safe and reliable service is paramount to the
new commuter rail line, engineers/consultants specified a 1,000 kW MTU Onsite
Energy emergency standby generator set for the maintenance facility to ensure
that, even if a utility outage occurs, trains will be ready and in service when

This MTU Onsite Energy
power system is designed for robust applications that need dependable
electrical power.

Northstar Rail trains are
powered by diesel-electric locomotives and therefore run independently of
utility power. All five locomotives and the 18 passenger cars are serviced at
the vehicle maintenance facility at the Big Lake Station, the northwest
terminus of the line, and it is here that reliable electric power is needed to
keep trains running on time.

"The MTU Onsite Energy
generator supports all of the vehicle maintenance facility’s electrical loads,
so regardless of utility power outages or weather-related power outages, the
facility is operational and the trains still run," said Tim Stalpes, sales
engineer for Interstate Power Systems, the local distributor for MTU Onsite

The vehicle maintenance
facility is 38 feet high and more than 600 feet long and includes four
different types of rail track: a component removal track, designed for repairs
on two cars at once; a larger repair-and-maintenance track; a
storage-and-inspection track; and a train-wash track, located in a separate
building. The building’s electric loads include HVAC, lighting and electrical
service to the administrative offices, but the majority of the load is for
large-scale industrial equipment for the ongoing maintenance and repairs
performed on the cars and engines. This includes truck hoists and a wayside
power cabinet for the component removal track. Wayside power provides heating,
lights and ventilation to trains when they are not powered by the diesel-electric
locomotive. The train wash alone is 20 percent of the load.

The 1,000 kW MTU Onsite
Energy power system includes an MTU 16V2000 engine with 1,495 brake horsepower,
a 480-volt alternator and transfer switch. The Series 2000 engine features an
advanced diesel engine controller, or ADEC, that optimizes combustion and
allows the engine to meet current exhaust emissions requirements.

"In the event of a utility
power outage, the generator will assume the load within 10 seconds of power
loss," said Clarence Cronin of Design Electric, St. Cloud, Minn., the project’s
electrical contractor. Because it’s likely the facility will expand in the
future, or the electrical loads will increase, the power system is sized for
approximately 20 percent growth.

Categories: News