Options to electrify Ellesmere Port to Helsby?

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frodshamfella

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

That is really bad news. I can't see Ellesmere Port-Helsby getting a decent service for a very long time.

I suppose the other option is extend the 3rd rail to Helsby, but I suppose this would cost .$$$$$$$
 
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What happens at Paisley Canal?
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"?).
 

Ianno87

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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"?).

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
 

matacaster

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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"?).

Would an DC -> 25KV AC inverter suffice?
 

Greybeard33

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

Bletchleyite

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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?
 

Greybeard33

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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?
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.
 

mailbyrail

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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
 

DimTim

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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!
 

lancastrian

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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.
 

Elecman

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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
 

frodshamfella

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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


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

Bletchleyite

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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

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?
 

lancastrian

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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

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.
 

Bletchleyite

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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.

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.
 

Greybeard33

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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?
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:
If, at the earliest design optioneering stage, a duty holder fully assesses the risks of a proposed electrification scheme then it is possible to exploit opportunities to design those risks out or minimise them, as required by legislation. For example, later DC systems – such as the DLR – have designed their traction arrangements so that the conductor rail is insulated or shrouded. Access to third rail by the public on this system is also more restricted than on the mainline as it is raised or underground and has no level crossings. Similarly, this has been the case where London Underground has expanded its fourth rail network. Physical limitations and compatibility considerations have constrained adoption of alternative traction current arrangements but this is set against the already greater levels of compliance achieved on that network, such as no live working and greater separation of members of the public from the network.
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.
 

Meerkat

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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.

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?
 

Greybeard33

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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?
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.
 

Meerkat

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

Meerkat

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

bluenoxid

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

childwallblues

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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.
 

Camden

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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.
 

Greybeard33

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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.
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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