Great Western Electrification Progress

Grumbler

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Did they? Did anything actually ever come of that? I thought there was lots of moaning and NR made some vague comments and it was all forgotten, might be wrong though
Railways would be more visually appealing if designers were to take inspiration from Rowland Emett.
 
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Brissle Girl

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Did they? Did anything actually ever come of that? I thought there was lots of moaning and NR made some vague comments and it was all forgotten, might be wrong though
Broadly correct. In April 19 the campaign group were told that nothing would be done to the infrastructure but around 3m would be given for environmental mitigation (eg tree planting). And that, as they say, was that.

It is ugly, no doubt, but as the shiny new steelwork dulls, I suspect the visual effect is lessened from a distance as the infrastructure no longer jumps out and catches the eye in the same way.
 

WAO

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The problem with the Series 1 system was that it was optimised for installation, that being seen as the weak point. Even then it couldn't use the HOOP train much and in the end was installed expensively from RRV's. It looks and is a mess with heavy clamps to hold the portals, the masts/stanchions projecting to different heights, the feeder supports being an after thought (see how they often don't hang vertically), the portals having rectangular cut-outs, poor for strength and materials use, the foundation piles needing to be greater to support the excessive weight (and then being over designed) etc etc. The lattice Mark 1 system looked better and could probably have been made strong enough.

I understand that the 170t of surplus masts etc scrapped was disposed of because it would be cheaper to start from scratch than try to install it!

SNCF has been running TGV's for years a lot faster than 140mph under less intrusive (and more economical) OLE, not invented here, of course.

While NR could have done better, it's the controlling politicians and civil servants who should be prosecuted for the harm done to the AoNB's, (and to the UK in wrecking its vital electrification program).

WAO
 

si404

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Did they? Did anything actually ever come of that? I thought there was lots of moaning and NR made some vague comments and it was all forgotten, might be wrong though
Looking here, https://www.chilternsaonb.org/mend-the-gap.html, it seems like it was too late to change the Goring Gap and so Network Rail is spending £3.75m on screening vegetation in the Goring Gap (£750k) and landscape enhancements in general along the route (£3m).

And, more importantly, not making the same mistake again, apparently (are the gantries different on the Swindon-Bristol bit in the Cotswolds AONB?)

"Although Network Rail ultimately determined that replacement was not feasible for the Great Western electrification project, the lessons learned have already resulted in better designs being installed through the Cotswolds AONB. Network Rail has developed new guidelines to ensure that protected landscapes are considered carefully in future rail electrification projects."

Wiring may have some impact on modal shift, in that electric trains are seen as much better for the environment than driving a ICE car, however that ignores the fact that a diesel train is much more environmentally friendly than a car in the first place.
I'd have thought that everyone who'd want to be green knows the train (while it could be better with wires) is greener than the car anyway - your "however".

The benefits of electric vs diesel trains that really generate modal shift l aren't going to take place if Bath is wired or not (journey times won't shorten, frequency won't improve, trains won't be replaced) as the stopping trains won't change and the IETs are already here. Ergo, zero modal shift from IETs running through Bath on wires.

And anyway, this was a false dichotomy used to try and justify ugly masts in protected places - the choice isn't the "ugly masts or tons of cars" made out originally, the choice isn't even "ugly masts or diesel running" as I suggested was more accurate, the choice is "ugly masts, or spending more money on nicer ones in places, or diesel running".
 

59CosG95

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It looks and is a mess with heavy clamps to hold the portals, the portals having rectangular cut-outs, poor for strength and materials use, etc etc. The lattice Mark 1 system looked better and could probably have been made strong enough.

SNCF has been running TGV's for years a lot faster than 140mph under less intrusive (and more economical) OLE, not invented here, of course.
The use of the square/rectangular cut-outs in such booms is to transfer and resist bending moments. And S1 isn't the first time such cut-outs in booms have appeared in the UK; they first appeared in the 1990s when Paddington - Heathrow Airport was electrified, utilising 1.0m x 0.62m and 1.5m x 0.85m cross-section booms, with hinged connections to nullify the bending moments imposed by the booms on the masts. (The track layout was, AIUI, impossible to accommodate headspans on the approach to Paddington due to the sheer number of tracks, plus the signal sighting required).

I agree, the BR Mark 1 booms are a lot easier on the eye than NR Series 1, but they're a b***er to work with nowadays as all the measurements are imperial rather than metric. Their standard range is no longer available for design use, but some bespoke Mk1-esque arrangements have appeared, most recently at Kettering which now has 5 Mk1-style portals over the station. (This was the case there as the canopies are listed.)
Additionally, one of Mk1's weak spots is the latticing itself; more welds = more weak spots for rust.

And, rectangular booms are all the rage in Switzerland...
 
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stuu

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And, more importantly, not making the same mistake again, apparently (are the gantries different on the Swindon-Bristol bit in the Cotswolds AONB?)
Not visibly, no. Streetview confirms that were available. Being double rather than four tracks makes it a a bit less obtrusive, but not by a lot

And anyway, this was a false dichotomy used to try and justify ugly masts in protected places - the choice isn't the "ugly masts or tons of cars" made out originally, the choice isn't even "ugly masts or diesel running" as I suggested was more accurate, the choice is "ugly masts, or spending more money on nicer ones in places, or diesel running".
Given the over-engineered appearance of them, I wouldn't be surprised if nicer ones, which would almost certainly be smaller, does mean they would cost more money. One thing I have never understood is why on segments such as the Kennet Valley, there is a such a variety of different steelwork when compared with older double-track electrification like the lines to Cambridge
 

59CosG95

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One thing I have never understood is why on segments such as the Kennet Valley, there is a such a variety of different steelwork when compared with older double-track electrification like the lines to Cambridge.
By 'Kennet Valley', I assume you mean the Berks & Hants?
Most of the original Mk3 electrification used masts with 152x152 UC sections, which have now been withdrawn from new installations as they tend to succumb to torsion and twisting more quickly than those with larger cross-sections. 203x203 UC is now the accepted minimum.

Additionally, in order to minimise pantograph hookover risk, mid-point anchors on 2-track sections (and 3-track, 4-track etc.) have moved away from being a single track cantilever with a tie wire anchoring it at the spans either side of it (Figure A), to being a portal over those lines where the catenary is directly anchored to the boom. Likewise, terminating anchors now tend to be formed of those Tensorex portals to eliminate the need to cross the catenary at every overlap for the same reason.
1587386151639.png
Figure A (Contact wire Stagger omitted for clarity)
 

LNW-GW Joint

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And, rectangular booms are all the rage in Switzerland...
I rather liked these slim and square section booms at Graz in Austria.
It looked like a new installation (in 2016).
Not a fast layout of course, but OK for places like Oxford and Bristol TM I would have thought.

IMG_2148-graz ohle.JPG

IMG_2150-graz2 ohle.JPG
 
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59CosG95

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I rather liked these slim and square section booms at Graz in Austria.
It looked like a new installation (in 2016).
Not a fast layout of course, but OK for places like Oxford and Bristol TM.

View attachment 76842

View attachment 76843
Now these...these I like. Those braced frames look especially versatile, and could easily fit on canopies and bridges where clearances allow. The downside of the TTC-style registrations in picture 2 is that you need much higher masts to suspend the boom off, which in turn gives larger visual intrusion, albeit with a more slender boom profile. (They use TTCs of similar designs in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy & Czechia to name a few). UK portal designs are also slightly more flexible, in that you can position a stovepipe on 3 different positions on a boom (directly underneath, on the low mileage side, or on the high mileage side).
 

The Ham

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I'd have thought that everyone who'd want to be green knows the train (while it could be better with wires) is greener than the car anyway - your "however"
I'm not so sure that everyone does, and certainly it wouldn't appear so clear cut once there's more electric cars (even though an electric car would have a bigger difference in environmental impact than an EMU, as they are better than battery trains).

In 10 years time when you have the choice of a EV or a Diesel train those trying to be green are probably going to think that by going EV would be a lot better, even though there's probably not a lot in it.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Did they? Did anything actually ever come of that? I thought there was lots of moaning and NR made some vague comments and it was all forgotten, might be wrong though
They did set up a website and protest group
 

stuu

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By 'Kennet Valley', I assume you mean the Berks & Hants?
Most of the original Mk3 electrification used masts with 152x152 UC sections, which have now been withdrawn from new installations as they tend to succumb to torsion and twisting more quickly than those with larger cross-sections. 203x203 UC is now the accepted minimum.

Additionally, in order to minimise pantograph hookover risk, mid-point anchors on 2-track sections (and 3-track, 4-track etc.) have moved away from being a single track cantilever with a tie wire anchoring it at the spans either side of it (Figure A), to being a portal over those lines where the catenary is directly anchored to the boom. Likewise, terminating anchors now tend to be formed of those Tensorex portals to eliminate the need to cross the catenary at every overlap for the same reason.
View attachment 76841
Figure A (Contact wire Stagger omitted for clarity)
Thanks! I've often wondered
 

Bald Rick

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I'm not so sure that everyone does, and certainly it wouldn't appear so clear cut once there's more electric cars (even though an electric car would have a bigger difference in environmental impact than an EMU, as they are better than battery trains).

In 10 years time when you have the choice of a EV or a Diesel train those trying to be green are probably going to think that by going EV would be a lot better, even though there's probably not a lot in it.
When you say “10 years time”, you of course mean “now”
 

The Ham

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When you say “10 years time”, you of course mean “now”
Whilst there are EV cars now they are very much in the minority (still single digits of percents of new cars, IIRC), in 10 years time that's likely to be very different. Hence the reason for using that timeframe.
 

Bald Rick

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Whilst there are EV cars now they are very much in the minority (still single digits of percents of new cars, IIRC), in 10 years time that's likely to be very different. Hence the reason for using that timeframe.
Well, yes, but that choice is available now for some people, which was my point. In 10 years time the environmental advantages of any lightly used* diesel line will not exist.

*lightly used meaning by less than about 12 coaches of train each way an hour, and on average each coach being less than half full.
 

nlogax

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Will Network Rail ever find a solution for wiring in the Sydney Gardens area of Bath Spa?
Yes, or certainly a solution was at least proposed. A very elegant cantilever design by Atkins, drop tube / registration et al by F&F (and submitted to the Newseum by Noel Dolphin of F&F). I really hope it sees the light of day once someone finally decides to extend the knitting westwards through Bath.

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 21.55.19.png
https://bathnewseum.com/2016/04/26/is-this-the-sydney-gardens-rig-for-electrification/

This is the way electrification may well be carried through Bath’s historic Sydney Gardens.

My thanks to Noel Dolphin of Furrer+Frey for sending me the ‘3D pdf of the electrification cantilever for Sydney Gardens.’
 

The Ham

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In March, EVs outsold diesels
I was thinking of longer term numbers, as you can always have specific circumstances which can change the normal pattern.

I would question how useful using data from March is, giving the ongoing crisis. As it's likely to impact on numbers of cars sold.

However, even under normal circumstances this year was always going to see a big uplift in EV purchase due to changes to the tax rules.
 

76020

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Looks like those nice people in Steventon won in the end, so we have trains that can do at least 125 MPH but have to slow down to 110 MPH to go under a bridge.
https://www.networkrailmediacentre....n-in-place-following-state-of-the-art-testing,
A Grade II listed bridge in Steventon, Oxfordshire, has been saved after innovative testing and the introduction of a new speed limit by Network Rail means it no longer has to be replaced as part of electrification.


The bridge over the Great Western Main Line was originally planned to be demolished and replaced with a higher bridge to allow overhead wires, needed to run trains in electric, to pass underneath enabling trains to run at 125mph.


However, following feedback from the community about how this would impact the village, Network Rail carried out state-of-the-art testing to see if the bridge could be saved.


This extensive and breakthrough testing, which included the use of computer-based simulation software, found that if the line speed of the railway was reduced to 110mph through Steventon, the wires could pass underneath the existing bridge.
 
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coppercapped

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Looks like those nice people in Steventon won in the end, so we have trains that can do at least 125 MPH but have to slow down to 110 MPH to go under a bridge.
https://www.networkrailmediacentre....n-in-place-following-state-of-the-art-testing, this goes along the same lines as Trump suggesting that we can inject ourselves with disinfectant to kill COVID-19
This has been done to death in many of the earlier posts.

It's not the bridge alone. It's because the contact wire has to rise very quickly relative to the rail between the bridge and the level crossing in Stocks Lane immediately to the west in order to give sufficient clearance for road traffic. The steep slope of the contact wire makes it difficult for the pantograph to maintain contact - hence the speed limit.

If the level crossing wasn't there there would be no speed limit.
 
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Meerkat

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This has been done to death in many of the earlier posts.

It's not the bridge alone. It's because the contact wire has to rise very quickly relative to the rail between the bridge and the level crossing in Stocks Lane immediately to the west in order to give sufficient clearance for road traffic. The steep slope of the contact wire makes it difficult for the pantograph to maintain contact - hence the speed limit.

If the level crossing wasn't there there would be no speed limit.

Your comparison with Trump is completely out of order.
But if the bridge went the level crossings wouldn’t matter. Or get rid of the level crossings.
if they weren’t well off people this would have been done and dusted years ago.
Hopefully drivers find a reason to sound the horn there regularly.
 
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59CosG95

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Why? Is it not possible that people can just be happy with what looks like a decent compromise, or is that extra 15mph so very important to you?
Besides, the acceleration of the 80x units is that much better than the HSTs, to the extent that no time is lost from the old (pre-Dec 19) schedule.
 

76020

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It's not an ideal outcome, but unlike Trump's advice it's not going to kill anybody.
Obviously not the ideal outcome but common sense has gone out of the window here I feel, if there were more "Listed Bridges" like the one at Steventon along the route which cannot be modified or knocked down then the same thing would have happen again, it would have made the trains slower with longer journey times, luckily there was not. 15 mph does matter to the train operator GWR not to me and it is the principle that a small band of people in a small village can stop the sensible thing happen which is to get the bridge rebuilt.
 

nlogax

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Obviously not the ideal outcome but common sense has gone out of the window here I feel
Quite the opposite. As you point out, this is the only bridge that's been problematic and the problem has been fixed to everyone's satisfaction - everyone that actually matters here.
 

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