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Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Line Will Get Jolt From New Battery

The German engineering company, Siemens started installing the first regenerative battery for a U.S. train, in Portland Monday.

Construction continues of TriMet's Portland-Milwaukie light rail line.

Construction continues of TriMet’s Portland-Milwaukie light rail line.

Sergio Cisneros/OPB

It’s actually a series of capacitors, rather than a battery. But spokesman, Steffen Goeller, says you can think of it as a $400,000 battery that can charge and release its power very quickly.

“In this case there’s the motor and when the train brakes, that braking energy is then fed back over the overhead wire into a stationary battery that sits on the wayside,” he said.

When the train needs to start moving again, he says, the battery can release the stored energy.

Goeller says the technology has been used in Spain and China, but this is the first time it’s been used in the U.S.

It’s being installed on TriMet’s new Portland-Milwaukie light rail line.

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