The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) Red Line (MRL) provides heavy rail subway service with six-car trains at up to 65 mph, connecting downtown to the San Fernando Valley with weekday headways down to five minutes. MRL trains have either DC chopper propulsion or AC propulsion. Revenue service measurements at the busy Westlake/MacArthur Park station show that natural regeneration from braking trains to accelerating trains recoups 34% of the energy provided by nearby braking trains. The remaining 66% of the braking train energy is a candidate for capture and reuse.

To capture and reuse this energy, Metro contracted with VYCON Inc. to design, supply, and integrate a flywheel Wayside Energy Storage Substation (WESS). WESS will capture and reuse train braking energy at the MRL Westlake traction power substation, located at the Westlake/MacArthur Park station. The project, funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration through its Transit Investments for Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is being cooperatively performed by Metro and VYCON. The initial WESS deployment is of a 2 MW rated system with a 15 s charge / discharge time, and an 8.33 kWh energy capacity. The WESS design allows easy expansion to a 6 MW rating. This paper presents results from initial MRL tests to measure regenerative energy savings which occur during revenue service operations, before installing the WESS.

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