Options to electrify Ellesmere Port to Helsby?

Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by frodshamfella, 23 May 2019.

  1. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    Mod Note: Posts #1 - #7 originally in this thread.

    I suppose the other option is extend the 3rd rail to Helsby, but I suppose this would cost .$$$$$$$
     
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  3. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Or do it with overheads, as the 777s will have pantograph wells. On a line like that a simple Paisley Canal type set-up should work.
     
  4. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    good idea.
     
  5. Bovverboy

    Bovverboy Member

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    What happens at Paisley Canal?
     
  6. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    Low linespeed and lowish traffic levels, so the wiring was cheaper. Not sure of the details but the installation has been referred to as "tramway style".

    One of the cost savings was it being fed from the existing wiring at the junction, though that won't be an easy option for Ellesmere Port to Helsby as it wouldn't be linked to the existing 25kvAC system (unless it's fed from Runcorn via the Halton Curve... perhaps a Stalybridge style "extension lead"?).
     
  7. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    Also, AIUI:
    -Strung at a low height with dead sections under bridges to save rebuilding them
    -Also current needs to be isolated on the rare occasion a freight service needs to use the branch, due to the low wires in places

    Personally, I'd only expect Helsby-Ellesmere Port gaining wires in a combined scheme with Chester to Warrington/Crewe/Halton Curve
     
  8. matacaster

    matacaster Member

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    Would an DC -> 25KV AC inverter suffice?
     
  9. GRALISTAIR

    GRALISTAIR Established Member

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  10. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    No. Not without huge, costly capacitors to smooth out the 100Hz ripple on the DC supply to the inverter. A 50Hz, single phase inverter draws power in 100Hz pulses that would otherwise impose an unacceptable unbalanced load on the 50Hz 3-phase mains supply to the Merseyrail DC substation.

    But how about 750V DC OLE electrification, like light rail systems, for short Merseyrail extensions? That would avoid the safety issues with third rail but could be fed from similar substations. The trains would just need a pantograph and switchgear to connect it to the existing DC traction bus.
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Extending the third rail is the obvious answer, perhaps using protected third rail if necessary. But wasn't this route not done because there were concerns about sparks and the oil refinery rather than only to save money?
     
  12. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    Is the supposed issue of sparks near Stanlow oil refinery anything other than forum wibble? If flammable gas escaped as far as the railway, it would be a major incident regardless.

    Diesel trains and road vehicles contain plenty of ignition sources (even steel wheels on rails can make sparks) yet there are no special precautions for operations near the refinery.
     
  13. mailbyrail

    mailbyrail Member

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    Not to mention the regular passage of steam locos until the bitter end in 1968, some of them hauling tank trains
     
  14. DimTim

    DimTim Member

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    Class 777 may be designed with pantograph wells but is there a pantograph & suitable electrics. Might save on wiring cost but substantially increase cost of class 777!
     
  15. lancastrian

    lancastrian Member

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    I just don't understand why there cannot be short extensions of the 3rd rail network.
    Ellesmere Port to Helsby, Ormskirk to Burscough Junction and even down the Borderlands Line to Wrexham Central.
    All these would make perfect sense to me, but obviously not to Politicians or so called Civil Servants.
     
  16. Elecman

    Elecman Established Member

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    Because the ORR will not countenance anymore 3rd rail extensions unless the conductor rail is totally shrouded to prevent accidental contact under the Electricity at Work Regulations
     
  17. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    Would this be the same for any London Underground extensions, should they happen?
     
  18. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    What's the definition of shrouded? As in, can a top-contact system still be used with a shroud on 3 sides, or is bottom or side-contact required?
     
  19. lancastrian

    lancastrian Member

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    It is this sort of Health and Safety 'anal retentive' attitude which causes many Railway improvements to cost at least twice as much as they should cost. There has been no problem with 3rd rail electrification since 1904. But not now, perhaps they should put the same amount of effort dealing with all the road safety problems.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    People have been killed and injured on the third rail, even staff who know how to handle it properly. That said, I agree regarding road safety - really, the railway has reached the point of diminishing returns, so additional railway safety regulation is probably not justified against spending that money either on road improvements or on lowering fares to attract people out of far more dangerous cars.
     
  21. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    I believe that bottom contact is required to satisfy the ORR's definition of shrouded third rail in its policy document. Also, enhanced measures to restrict public access to the railway would be required, comparable to those on the DLR and London Underground:
    https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/17621/dc-electrification-policy-statement.pdf

    It would be very challenging to equip trains with retractable collector shoes for both top and bottom contact third rail systems and change between them en route. Much simpler to switch between third rail and OLE.
     
  22. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member

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    Very interest suggestion.
    How much cheaper is 750v DC OLE?
    Would it need a whole new set of standards or has tram-train already provided that?
    I guess NR might insist on 25KV ready metalwork, but maybe this could be overridden on lines that aren’t likely to get 25KV before the metalwork needs replacing anyway.
    Do Merseyrail have any long term plans to change to 25KV, at least above ground?
     
  23. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    I believe the Rotherham 750V tram-train OLE is 25kV ready, using common parts as far as possible and with clearances to 25kV requirements. In doing this, Network Rail will have compiled a catalogue of standard parts that can be used "off the shelf" in future 750V OLE schemes.

    I do not know what the policy would be regarding 25kV readiness for an Ellesmere Port to Helsby scheme. Nor if there are any problem structures on the line where reduced 750V clearances would be beneficial.
     
  24. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member

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    I guess you could use 25KV structures generally but go off standard where 750v saves rebuilding.
     
  25. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    It does seem bizarre that this short piece of line can't have its potential realized.
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Does it have much potential, really? It'd be a useful through connection but it's never really going to wash its face financially.
     
  27. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member

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    If the technology park on the refinery keeps developing and a few more houses were chucked in at Elton......
     
  28. bluenoxid

    bluenoxid Established Member

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    Could the option to electrify this line be on board battery rather than implement any infrastructure?
     
  29. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    About 2005 NR gave Merseytravel an estimate of electrication for the Wrexham to Bidston line as £80 million for DC and £207 million for 25KV AC.
     
  30. Camden

    Camden Established Member

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    Liverpool's system is directly comparable to the tube in its level of separation from members of the public. There is no example on Merseyrail without a direct LU comparable, and many locations where members of the public are at significant extra risk on the tube than they are on Merseyrail. Arguments against its straightforward 3rd rail expansion are entirely bogus, and to date have simply lacked sufficient political clout to knock the obstructions to it into touch.
     
  31. Greybeard33

    Greybeard33 Established Member

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    There are many level crossings on the Merseyrail network, whereas I understand there are none on London Underground lines.

    Per the quote in Post #20, the ORR considers that level crossings increase the risk of public access to the third rail.
     

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