Flooding in South-East England (11/06/2012)

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tsr

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So, it's been quite a bad day for railways being flooded in the South-East of England today.

Shalford, Moorgate, Ockley, Hedge End, Potters Bar, Arundel, Barnham and Chichester appear to have been affected, with the Arundel and Chichester/Barnham problems now causing major disruption in time for the influx of commuters (it appears that trains are having extreme difficulty on the West Coastway and Arun Valley, and the track circuits have been all but rendered inoperable at Arundel). Has anyone been caught up in this, and do you have any interesting stories?

Delays through the Arun Valley are now over 30 minutes, so expect fun in the peak, indeed.

Are there any new, innovative solutions to flooding problems (bearing in mind the flooding today has been severe but it's not exactly unheard of), or are we simply going to have to accept that disruption must occur in geologically and topologically vulnerable areas? It's a broad topic, if you'll pardon my Norfolk-related pun, and some alleviation methods are well-known, such as optimising natural drainage.

One wonders if in some areas "third-rail" traction current delivery is worth reconsidering if the climate continues to wobble around and we get more severe weather causing flooding... am I right in thinking that diesel-electric and OHLE traction is rather more suitable in flood-prone areas, consideration of OHLE structures notwithstanding?

Also, the following basic question perhaps deserves debate: how can track engineers specifically plan for increased instances of flooding from a modern perspective? Are there any new ways of working that are looking to be well-proven, or do we have to rely on older and established trackwork methods?

I understand some of this post can fall under the "Infrastructure" heading, so after today it may well be that it is suitable for this thread to be moved to that location of the forum.
 
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ushawk

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I dont believe the problems with flooding are down to having a 3rd rail, its simply because the South-East is having incredibly bad weather (although my little corner of East Sussex seems to of escaped). Problems occur when the track circuits are flooded - as is whats happening at Potters Bar, Arundel etc.

To sum it up, it isnt really down to 3rd rail as it could happen anywhere.
 

tsr

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I dont believe the problems with flooding are down to having a 3rd rail, its simply because the South-East is having incredibly bad weather (although my little corner of East Sussex seems to of escaped). Problems occur when the track circuits are flooded - as is whats happening at Potters Bar, Arundel etc.

To sum it up, it isnt really down to 3rd rail as it could happen anywhere.
I'm sorry, I wasn't really very clear. What I'm trying to consider is how much more vulnerable, if at all, the third rail system is, and whether or not that's a primary factor in a lot of flooding disruption.

Let's face it: a third rail being submerged can't ever be a good thing!

It isn't necessarily going to have been the primary problem today, though, I suppose.
 

ushawk

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Take a lot to cover the whole rail !! But yeah the general cables going into the rail could get covered.

This is a picture posted on Twitter at Nutbourne (between Chichester and Havant) -

 

adtrainz

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Circuits are virtually useless at Nutbourne and at the west end of Chichester; many trains were passing signals at danger. Delays of up to an hour and chaos all along the Coastway.
 

John Webb

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The main physical problem that faces modern traction is that the axle-hung motors cannot tolerate more than brief immersion in water, whether the power supply is OHLE, diesel-electric or 3rd rail. This was one advantage of steam locos - as long as the ashbox was above the water-line the train could proceed!

There is also greater caution about allowing trains to run where the line is underwater as there is the potential for the line to have been disturbed by the water or obstructed by debris washed onto the line.
 

DXMachina

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Out of interest are there some warning systems for 3rd-rail immersion, does the system look for slowly rising current and shut off gracefully or is it a case of the breakers tripping when the water contact is sufficient for it to look like a short-circuit?

i imagine a flood would start to manifest itself as gradual energy losses from the system as water has a certain electrical resistance at least in low quantities.
 

DJ_K666

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I was at Potters Bar earlier on. A 225 was sitting at platform 2 waiting to be yellow-flagged through the tunnel, followed by a 125. My train was a Moorgate stopper which ended up running 40 minutes late and non stop to Finsbury Park. It did stop briefly at Hornsey to either pick up or drop off a member of staff. There were several dirty looks from the people waiting at the intermediate stations though
 

Searle

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I was at Potters Bar earlier on. A 225 was sitting at platform 2 waiting to be yellow-flagged through the tunnel, followed by a 125. My train was a Moorgate stopper which ended up running 40 minutes late and non stop to Finsbury Park. It did stop briefly at Hornsey to either pick up or drop off a member of staff. There were several dirty looks from the people waiting at the intermediate stations though
I've heard of FCC doing this a little bit, never occurred to me why, surely you're just inconveniencing the people at the intermediate stations more, who will now have to wait another 20+ minutes?
 

DJ_K666

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Not sure. Southern do it too. Perhaps it helps the train catch up time on the return trip, so you have one late running train rather than several. We do similar things on the buses.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Take a lot to cover the whole rail !! But yeah the general cables going into the rail could get covered.

This is a picture posted on Twitter at Nutbourne (between Chichester and Havant) -

https://p.twimg.com/AvHjYB9CIAAFQmK.jpg
Ah Nutbourne. Some good friends of mine live about 500 yards from there.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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3d rail and water is not always a show stopper , work mate came up from Shepperton on an 8 car 455 under extreme caution , with the 3d rail steaming gently.

There are guidelines for traversing flood water , not just traction motor issues - but water getting into the roller bearings on the axles. You cannot run through running flood water is a fixed issue (displaced ballast)
 

TheJRB

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I've heard of FCC doing this a little bit, never occurred to me why, surely you're just inconveniencing the people at the intermediate stations more, who will now have to wait another 20+ minutes?
I see Southeastern do it sometimes too. When there are delays on Ramsgate to Charing Cross via Sevenoaks trains, it is quite common for them to run non stop from Ashford to Tonbridge.
 
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Take a lot to cover the whole rail !! But yeah the general cables going into the rail could get covered.

This is a picture posted on Twitter at Nutbourne (between Chichester and Havant) -

With the railhead clear we'd have run through that at 5mph in B.R. days.
 

tsr

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Not sure. Southern do it too.
They've done it rather a lot today, including a rather spectacular Victoria - Haywards Heath fast runner. There have been a number of Horsham - Victoria trains terminating at East Croydon and Clapham Junction, too (probably starting at their short-terminating stations on the return).

Because FCC have no slack, if that train is late at 8am it will still be late at 6pm!
No it won't. It will have broken down between City Thameslink and Farringdon at approximately 5pm. <D
 

DJ_K666

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Not sure. Southern do it too. Perhaps it helps the train catch up time on the return trip, so you have one late running train rather than several. We do similar things on the buses.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Ah Nutbourne. Some good friends of mine live about 500 yards from there.
Since posting that I have since heard that my friends' house is ankle deep in water. Not good.
 
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