Lightning Strikes at Battersea

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elementalpat

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Lightning strike has caused big problems from Waterloo/Victoria trains at rush hour too!

Worst hit seems to be the South Eastern trains from Vic.

Must be pretty chaotic at those terminals right now.
 
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ushawk

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Major problems in and out of Waterloo and Victoria this evening as lightning from the thunderstorms in London seems to have struck signalling equipment in the Battersea area.

Judging as both Victoria and Waterloo are affected, im assuming there has been multiple strikes on both lines.

2 trains have been stuck in the Vauxhall area by this without power, according to the SWT Twitter the 17.58 Windsor service is one of them. The Victoria to London Bridge via Denmark Hill service has been suspended too.

Looking like disruption will last for the rest of the day.
 

Schnellzug

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oh for heavens sake, i thought modern technology was supposed to make the railways more reliable. but all we get is problem after problem after problem, failure after failure after failure. Why does the signalling in the UK not work properly?
 

Bungle73

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oh for heavens sake, i thought modern technology was supposed to make the railways more reliable. but all we get is problem after problem after problem, failure after failure after failure. Why does the signalling in the UK not work properly?
You try working properly who you've just been struck by a so many thousand volt lightning strike.
 

ainsworth74

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oh for heavens sake, i thought modern technology was supposed to make the railways more reliable.
Or more likely thanks to modern technology we know about much more than we used to! How likely is it that before the internet and 24-hour news that disruption at Waterloo would be reported in anything other than local newspapers/radio? I'd wager that 30 years ago (maybe even a bit less) I would know nothing about disruption at Waterloo living as I do in Hull/Teesside.
 

Bungle73

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A serious fire in an electrical substation according to Southeastern's website. All services in and out of Victoria suspended.
 

ushawk

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A serious fire in an electrical substation according to Southeastern's website. All services out of Victoria suspended.
Might also explain why 2 SWT services were stranded without power. So thats nothing running on the lines from Victoria to Peckham Rye now.
 

tsr

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At least one if not two lightning strikes touched the ground (if more than one, in almost exactly the same position and at almost exactly the same time) just south of London Victoria, it appears.

As of 2001hrs:

- Southern: all services are suspended via Denmark Hill (up to 30 minute delays occurred on other routes earlier)

- SWT: delays of up to 40 minutes are occurring

- SET: delays of up to 60 minutes have progressed to a suspension of services to/from London Victoria

SET disruptions are NOT being accurately reflected in Live Departure Boards, as of 2019hrs.

EDIT: Here's a link to the (obviously vague) BBC report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17777918
 
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12CSVT

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oh for heavens sake, i thought modern technology was supposed to make the railways more reliable. but all we get is problem after problem after problem, failure after failure after failure. Why does the signalling in the UK not work properly?
Unfortunately modern technology (ie, computers powered by electricity) will always be vulnerable to lightning (ie, very high voltage electricity, far in excess of any man-made source of electricity generation). Unless somebody manages to devise a method of insulating electrical equipment from surges of multi - million volts.
 

tsr

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Unless somebody manages to devise a method of insulating electrical equipment from surges of multi - million volts.
They may as well try to shield the equipment from Coronal Mass Ejections from the surface of the sun, terrorism, cable thieves or whatever else. There are plenty of things that can take down an electrically-operated railway!
 

Bald Rick

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Unfortunately modern technology (ie, computers powered by electricity) will always be vulnerable to lightning (ie, very high voltage electricity, far in excess of any man-made source of electricity generation). Unless somebody manages to devise a method of insulating electrical equipment from surges of multi - million volts.
In this case the lightning hit some vintage DC power supply kit, which promptly caught fire, and subsequently affected the signalling. Signalling was restored on the main line at 1920, but the power is still off past Stewarts Lane on the SE lines. There's a special from Vic - Ramsgate via Crystal Palace and Beckenham Jn about to go.
 

hwl

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What are the chances the SE lines into Victoria will be working first thing tomorrow morning (i.e. 6am)?
 

hwl

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In this case the lightning hit some vintage DC power supply kit, which promptly caught fire, and subsequently affected the signalling. Signalling was restored on the main line at 1920, but the power is still off past Stewarts Lane on the SE lines. There's a special from Vic - Ramsgate via Crystal Palace and Beckenham Jn about to go.
National Rail are saying until further notice. The best advice i can give is check before you travel in the morning.
I always check the first train is running on NRE website anyway but:
Unfortunately Plan B involves getting a train on another line at 0545 and thus getting up 40 minutes earlier for the extra walk etc so was wondering if there was any insider knowledge on the forum hence the reason for asking?

I.e. could a combination of some temporary wiring (i.e. done overnight) reduced timetable and economical driving style enable a service to be run or are we looking at Monday am
 

ushawk

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National Rail are saying until further notice. The best advice i can give is check before you travel in the morning.
SE website says a "limited" service is now operating in and out of Victoria, so it might well of been repaired, will be the odd cancellation and short-formed services as stock will be out of place.
 

sonic2009

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SE website says a "limited" service is now operating in and out of Victoria, so it might well of been repaired, will be the odd cancellation and short-formed services as stock will be out of place.
I can understand that, i only gave the advice, because i cannot comment on what the Southeastern Managment/Control are doing.... they could choose overnight to put in an emergency timetable :D
 

ushawk

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I can understand that, i only gave the advice, because i cannot comment on what the Southeastern Managment/Control are doing.... they could choose overnight to put in an emergency timetable :D
Yeah, i was expecting it not to be repaired until the early hours as the strike would have frazzled a lot of equipment. Always the possibility of some of the repaired equipment failing in the morning.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Statement of sorts from Network Rail on Twitter -

UPDATE - London Waterloo/London Victoria. Two separate lightning strikes - one at approximately 1736hrs at a substation near Vauxhall (affecting @SW_Trains services to/from London Waterloo station) and one at approximately 1730hrs at a track paralleling hut [these are located between substations to ensure supply voltage is continuous in long electrical sections] near London Victoria which affected @southernrailuk and @Se_railway services to/from the station. The latter was severely damaged by the resulting fire, which was extinguished by the London Fire Brigade. The resulting surge and/or loss of electricity supply resulting from these lightning strikes stranded several trains and damaged a number of components of the railway infrastructure including electrified tracks and signalling systems. At the time of writing (2315 Thursday 19 April) normal working has resumed to/from London Waterloo - although services are still disrupted as a result. Further repairs and testing are being carried out to the infrastructure around London Victoria station, and these will continue overnight if required. A further update will follow at approximately 0500hrs.
 

Bald Rick

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Everything is working now save for a few relatively minor signalling issues which should be cleared up overnight. One of the DC TP huts is badly damaged; this limits the ability to switch the traction current around problems, but it is effectively bypassed now.

Expect a normal service tomorrow, with usual provisos that there is likely to be some stock displacement (i dont know this for sure, but pretty likely) and there may be a few cancellations / short forms in the morning as result.

Edit- just seen the official words. Thankfully we're consistent!
 

hwl

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Everything is working now save for a few relatively minor signalling issues which should be cleared up overnight. One of the DC TP huts is badly damaged; this limits the ability to switch the traction current around problems, but it is effectively bypassed now.

Expect a normal service tomorrow, with usual provisos that there is likely to be some stock displacement (i dont know this for sure, but pretty likely) and there may be a few cancellations / short forms in the morning as result.

Edit- just seen the official words. Thankfully we're consistent!
Thanks Rick & ushawk, that was exactly the kind of info I was looking for!
 

John55

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Unfortunately modern technology (ie, computers powered by electricity) will always be vulnerable to lightning (ie, very high voltage electricity, far in excess of any man-made source of electricity generation). Unless somebody manages to devise a method of insulating electrical equipment from surges of multi - million volts.
The study of the effects of lightning on electronic and electrical equipment is well advanced and effective techniques for minimizing the effects are available.

There is no reason for lightning to cause this level of disruption to the railway network. I expect when the reasons for these failures is identified there will be a failure of design or installation. The usual reason for destructive damage in my experience is unauthorised modifications to the equipment protection or failure to maintain it.
 

ushawk

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The study of the effects of lightning on electronic and electrical equipment is well advanced and effective techniques for minimizing the effects are available.

There is no reason for lightning to cause this level of disruption to the railway network. I expect when the reasons for these failures is identified there will be a failure of design or installation. The usual reason for destructive damage in my experience is unauthorised modifications to the equipment protection or failure to maintain it.
Im sorry, but if you have a metal signal gantry higher than ground level for example, it will always be a target for lightning and everything attached to it will also be damaged as the electrical surge will overload the equipment. I dont see how it is down to a "design failure". Things like this are incredibly rare, but obviously when they do happen, it does generally lead to a suspension of service as most of the equipment in the immediate area is knocked out, whether it is radios, signalling equipment or power substations (as was the case today, and this could happen to any substation in the country i would have thought).
 

jon0844

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Even if there are now ways to reduce the damage from lightning strikes, I presume it would require an awful lot of, expensive, work to put all of these new systems in place?

Money well spent? Probably not.
 

hwl

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Southeastern Services to Victoria Still disrupted this morning.
Usual NRE trick of "cancelling" the service at the last moment even when they have plenty of warning
 

John55

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Im sorry, but if you have a metal signal gantry higher than ground level for example, it will always be a target for lightning and everything attached to it will also be damaged as the electrical surge will overload the equipment. I dont see how it is down to a "design failure". Things like this are incredibly rare, but obviously when they do happen, it does generally lead to a suspension of service as most of the equipment in the immediate area is knocked out, whether it is radios, signalling equipment or power substations (as was the case today, and this could happen to any substation in the country i would have thought).
Even if there are now ways to reduce the damage from lightning strikes, I presume it would require an awful lot of, expensive, work to put all of these new systems in place?

Money well spent? Probably not.
There are 300,000 ground strikes per year in the UK so at 800/day on average hardly rare.

Does the phone system pack up every time a microwave tower is hit? No it doesn't. Looking up the number of strikes per year I noted the Empire State building in New York is hit on average 100 times per year. That building is covered in telecomms kit and if that blew up every time lightning hit the building then the telecoms kit would have been removed long since (and no PCs left working in the offices within either).

Good design keeps the surge outside the equipment rooms and protects the equipment. Good design and installation rarely costs more than bad design and installation.

One system I worked on was hit by lightning with the result there was a rather powerful discharge within the building. On investigation the customer had connected his earth system up incorrectly which created a potential difference and discharge between 2 "earths". Sorting that out was quite simple and easily done as it involved restoring the earth connections to the condition the engineer who designed the building had specified. The equipment I was responsible was ok because it was protected but other kit in the building was damaged by the event.
 

Class377/5

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There are 300,000 ground strikes per year in the UK so at 800/day on average hardly rare.

Does the phone system pack up every time a microwave tower is hit? No it doesn't. Looking up the number of strikes per year I noted the Empire State building in New York is hit on average 100 times per year. That building is covered in telecomms kit and if that blew up every time lightning hit the building then the telecoms kit would have been removed long since (and no PCs left working in the offices within either).

Good design keeps the surge outside the equipment rooms and protects the equipment. Good design and installation rarely costs more than bad design and installation.

One system I worked on was hit by lightning with the result there was a rather powerful discharge within the building. On investigation the customer had connected his earth system up incorrectly which created a potential difference and discharge between 2 "earths". Sorting that out was quite simple and easily done as it involved restoring the earth connections to the condition the engineer who designed the building had specified. The equipment I was responsible was ok because it was protected but other kit in the building was damaged by the event.
Funny you mention the Empire State, it is designed to cope with lightening strikes because it has rods to attract and redirect the lightening. You seriously suggest we do this with every piece of railway electronics?
 

bailey65

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Would some sort of surge protection at the major sites like this which control two major terminals be a good idea or even possible im not talking about every bit of equipment on the network that would be ridiculous just big sites like this which control so much traffic.
Very impressive to see network rail get this problem cleared so quick considering the damage they don't get a lot of credit but it is well deserved here.
 

Wyvern

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Having seen the pictures I doubt if any equipment could withstand a direct hit like this.
 

bailey65

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Isn't a lightning strike something like 250,000 volts i doubt if anything could stop that it is still impressive that network rail got everything back up and running again so quickly though.
 
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