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Great Western Electrification Progress

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by 76020, 6 May 2013.

  1. JN114

    JN114 Established Member

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    Not all the work involved is visible, and access to the track - with no trains running - is often required. Checking the wiring is exactly where specified; pre-energisation checks that nothing is going to short it all out when turned on. There’s an awful lot of route-miles to check; on some of the busiest railway in Wales.

    In the 1920s and 30s the railway didn’t have the same duty of care to prevent injuries or worse to its workforce. The human right we now take for granted to do our job without fear of injury or worse was only just starting to be formalised. They were allowed to make major changes to infrastructure between trains; and if a handful of workers were killed or seriously injured in the process, oh well. The railway is a completely different industry to that 80 years ago; with different objectives and different rules to comply with. The southern railway of the 20s and 30s wouldn’t be any quicker if it had to comply with today’s regulations; and the consequent risk to safety would not allow you to remove the regulations that slow the pace of works down.
     
  2. HowardGWR

    HowardGWR Established Member

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    Bring that up to the 1960s. I then met a man lodging (living) at OOC engineman's hostel who was the only platelayer left of the members of the gang with whom he had started work decades before. It was told to me that all the rest had perished at one time or another.
     
  3. ArchieWoodbine

    ArchieWoodbine Member

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    As others have said, there's a massive difference in having run the last wire and authorising for passenger use. As an example, Didcot - Swindon was declared safe to energise for testing in May. It wasn't until early October that it was opened to electric traction - as fast as safety and resources would allow.

    In this time, there's a myriad of smaller, largely invisible elements of work to complete. For example, once a wire has been installed, it's seldom in the precise position required (we're talking millimetres of tolerance). A fleet of road-rail-vehicles with pantograph attachments have to adjust the position of every dropper and registration-arm point to ensure the wire is to design. Then a second vehicle has to pass a pan under it at low speed. Following this, the high-output train runs a pan at higher speeds. That's just to check mechanical compliance. After this there's repeated electrical and train tests to test the system as a whole. All of the above, and you have to do it with minimal impact on the operational railway; with adjacent electrical systems of varying vintages and compatabilities; whilst also placing worker safety as the very top priority.

    Yes, electrification could be delivered considerably quicker and cheaper (and has been done in the 1980s, 70s etc.), but not to the standards that modern health & safety legislation mandates or without even more significant disruption to services.
     
    Last edited: 9 Jan 2019
  4. Phil G

    Phil G Member

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    It is understandable that the installation has has to be thoroughly tested, after all it's carrying 25KV. It's just impatience having been looking at what looks like a completed piece of infrastructure for many months to wonder why don't they just test and commission the Chippenham bit and tick it off the list. Although now it's not even making it to the station let alone Bristol or Bath it might as well be abandoned, the 800s are arriving early nearly every day now on diesel so it's not really needed. Maybe that's why it's not top of any lists.
     
  5. ArchieWoodbine

    ArchieWoodbine Member

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    I know it's a depressing state of affairs, but technically Bath & Bristol haven't formally been cancelled yet - I still hold hope!

    And regarding the stretch down to Chippenham(ish): with the 800s struggling to even make 100mph up Dauntsey bank, I think the completion of these wires will be very welcome indeed!
     
  6. Phil G

    Phil G Member

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    Ah yes I don't experience the up consequences, only the down as I travel to Bath, since AC to Swindon my trains are arriving into Chippenham up to 4 early. I can see Dauntsey bank posing a challenge as HSTs struggle
     
  7. Mintona

    Mintona Established Member

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    I was chatting to a pretty senior chap from Network Rail yesterday. He seemed to think that Oxford electrification will be completed long before Bristol, and reading between the lines it seems grade separation at Didcot East and Wootton Bassett Junctions is more of a priority for NR at the moment than stringing the wires up beyond Chippenham.
     
  8. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    Whilst I would welcome electrification to Oxford, not completing Chippenham-Bristol is disappointing to say the least especially after all the work to lower the track in box tunnel.
     
  9. Phil G

    Phil G Member

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    Agreed having to endure the chaos of the box tunnel work, to not have it electrified is pretty annoying! Grade seperation of WB junction will be a challenge given the geography and the road going over the top of it and the surrounding houses etc.
     
  10. ArchieWoodbine

    ArchieWoodbine Member

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    As well as the Sidney Gardens & Bath station enabling works, there's also quite a few foundations in the ground beyond Thingley. Cancelling it outright would be a pretty significant reversal. I do also suspect it is more likely that Oxford goes ahead first though. Now the track work & signalling is largely complete there's only really political will (or lack of) preventing it from restarting in earnest.
     
  11. Phil G

    Phil G Member

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    Guess it's a much smaller job and bigger benefits being able to run 387s straight through to Oxford. Although doing Chippenham to Bristol could enable portishead to Swindon, opening Corsham and Wotton Bassett but I guess much longer term.
     
  12. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    Thee's still a fair amount of the remodelling and resignalling work in the Bristol area to be completed - particularly the Bristol East Junction renewal - before overhead wires are likely to get to Temple Meads.

    In contrast, the work at Oxford was all completed last summer and the modified layout was designed to allow for a future expansion of the station, so that does prevent any obstacle to wiring going ahead as soon as possible. Would certainly be good to see some Class 387s using all the brightly illuminated up side stabling sidings that were provided for them.
     
  13. TrainAndBike

    TrainAndBike Member

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    I think it is political. At the start of the project it was pushed by George Osbourne who wanted to promote the regions. For example the Northern Power House. He understood that it is important for a country not to concentrate investment in one place. DFT and rail track were told not to concentrate on the commuter branches for London but get the electrification to Swansea as the priority. The work on the Berks and Hants line was paused and the works looked westward. The Severn Tunnel was mostly done. In fact parts of it needed replacing from the corrosive conditions in the tunnel before the first 800 class went through (diesel powered) The trees on the line near Bridgend had little ribbons on them indicating they needed to be cut back. It was clearly going ahead as originally proposed. Then the Brexit stupidity started and we have had a series of transport ministers that cannot see past Maidenhead so Swansea was cancelled Berks and Hants resumed and Cardiff becomes the distant mysterious place at the end of the world where no Londoner dares to travel to. The class 800 is specified as a glorified commuter train rather than a comfortable long distance train. That is where we are now.
     
  14. SamYeager

    SamYeager Member

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    I believe the class 800 specification was agreed under the last labour government or at the very latest under the coalition government i.e. well before the vote to leave the EU. Perhaps the rest of your theory is equally inaccurate?
     
  15. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    Reading this I wonder if people in the railway industry ignored the Total Quality Management teachings that revolutionised much of outside industry in the 1980's and 90's. The onus should be on the original installer to instal to the original design. Do it once and do it right. Much cheaper and quicker than later rectification.
     
  16. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    It seems to have been "agreed" on multiple occasions.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercity_Express_Programme
    Not in that quote, but the full-length units for GWR were originally to be straight electric. The contract was varied to add diesel engines when it became clear the electrification wouldn't be ready in time.
     
  17. 59CosG95

    59CosG95 Established Member

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    Devilish Details of live limits:
    • Up & Down Charfield Lines at Westerleigh Jct (i.e. the Cheltenham Curve) - 120m 59ch.
    • Up & Down Badminton Lines (thence Up & Down Tunnel Lines) - 112m 55ch.
    • Up & Down Filton Lines (+ Down Bristol Parkway Relief Line) - 112m 23ch.
    • Stoke Gifford IET Depot also live (except for the lathe road from the building housing the lathe to the buffer stops)
    • Up & Down Westbury Lines - 53m 42ch.
    • Up & Down Basingstoke Lines - 38m 07ch; the Western-Wessex Route Boundary has also moved from 37m 76ch to 38m 30ch.
    All taken from the most recent edition of Modern Railways.
     
  18. Wychwood93

    Wychwood93 Member

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    Miles and chains are fine - when I was out and about today and yesterday I intended to note the Km distances on the masts on the Basingstoke lines - failed/overlooked on both days, I will have another look. The Km distances probably a touch more accurate than original quarter mile posts, although the GWR generally quite good - 'my' LSWR a little bit unreliable, some well known long and short chainages.
     
  19. ArchieWoodbine

    ArchieWoodbine Member

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    I agree, but to 'do it once and do it right' takes a longer, uninterupted period of time initially, so it's only really acheivable to install a wire and fully quality-control during a longer posession. But, given the majority of the track-access allowed to install the OLE has been 4-7 hour nightly posessions, once you factor mobilising and travelling on-track to the place of work, there simply isn't the time to do the full process in a single go. The only alternative is to 'get the wire up' as close as possible to design, then to return again during subsequent nights to tweek & verify it.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2019 at 13:40
  20. ArchieWoodbine

    ArchieWoodbine Member

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    To save you the trouble - the last masts are labelled BKE 061 / 288.
     
  21. 59CosG95

    59CosG95 Established Member

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    61 km & 288m from Paddington if the Series 1 numbering system tells it right.
     
  22. JN114

    JN114 Established Member

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    Notice in this week’s WON that Bassett Jcn - Christian Malford (93mi 31ch on the mainline towards Bath) to be considered live at all times from Feb 10th.

    Not authorised for passenger running from that date, but it will be the start of the process of getting it cleared.
     
  23. 59CosG95

    59CosG95 Established Member

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    I assume there's a OHNS (Overhead Neutral Section) at Christian Malford then? This is probably why there's no further ATF progress beyond that general area.
     
  24. JN114

    JN114 Established Member

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    Pass - could just be a sectioning switch.
     
  25. 59CosG95

    59CosG95 Established Member

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    That would make more sense to be fair; we are expecting electric trains beyond this point in the not-too-distant future after all!
     
  26. Wychwood93

    Wychwood93 Member

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    Many thanks for that Archie - and 59Cos for #8301. The only remaining question would be where exactly is the zero point at Paddington? - also is it the same place as for the posted miles and chains distances?
     
  27. 59CosG95

    59CosG95 Established Member

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    That's a harder point to discern - my best guess for the 'zero point' on the OLE network is at the structure numbered "J00/01". 'J' was the BR-era designation for any electrification on the GWML; the Series 1 OLE uses a different ELR-based system of numbering, so the first S1 mast has a "MLN" prefix (as per the Engineers' Line Reference of "MLN" for the GWML), followed by the OLE track kilometrage (giving locations accurate to the nearest metre) and the adjacent line (e.g. the Down Relief - DR).
    As to whether the zero point for track & OLE is the same, I don't quite know.
     
  28. JN114

    JN114 Established Member

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    The zero point is the same - it’s where the buffers of the platforms at Paddington used to be - the platforms at Paddington were shortened several times to their current length through history. The zero point is roughly where Yo Sushi in the “lawn” part of the Concourse.
     
  29. Wychwood93

    Wychwood93 Member

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    This could end up as an additional thread, if the conversation develops - the 'zero' at Waterloo is at one of the platforms deeper into the concourse - perhaps 10? - I have it somewhere. Anyway, a couple of resignalling diagrams I have here somewhere are, you guessed! in kilometres and if, as with JN114s post above, are probably at the same notional point as the miles and chains. The diagrams I have, by the way, are Worting/Eastleigh and Bournemouth.
     
  30. Phil G

    Phil G Member

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    That mileage sounds like all the way to cocklebury road as the station is at 93m 76ch. Christian malford is at least 4 or 5 miles east of Chippenham.
     

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