How do railway companies pay the electric consumption?



It’s very simple for diesel locos, they just buy diesel and fill the tank, but how do they assess the consumption of electric locos?

In: Engineering

With electric meters. Those wires over the tracks don’t just run straight to the power station. They run to the local grid, and they are connected through a meter. Every month, the electric company reads the meters and sends the railroad a bill. Each engine also have controls and meters that gauge its performance, so that the railroad knows when to repair it.

They pay for it the exact same way you do. There is a meter that measures the consumption. And based on the numbers on the meter, they get billed at regular intervals.

When you are a very, very, very large consumer (and, frankly, railroads ARE large consumers) it requires some extra equipment that makes it possible for the meter to measure the comparably high load. And there is a chance that they are offered, or even forced to use, a Tarif where consumption prices fluctuate by the hour or by the day, rather than by the month that is more standard for private consumption.

Just a fun fact about diesel locomotives. The diesel runs a generator which runs an electric motor which drives the train. Why? I don’t know.