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Possible third rail electrifications

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po8crg

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Are there any possible places where third rail could be installed, rather than OHLE?

Obviously, they would need to be in-fill on third rail, but most of the old Southern Railway region is already electric, and OHLE conversion is already being looked at, so converting bits of Southern seems unlikely (see the North Downs Line thread). Uckfield and Marshlink fall into this category too.

But I expect that if the Stanlow refinery ever closed, they'd do Ellesmere Port to Helsby as infill - OHLE doesn't seem very likely to ever come to Merseyrail; I believe that the tunnels are very tight for overhead space.

If the Skelmersdale line is ever built, that will be third rail, presumably.

And I've wondered about Ormskirk to Burscough, reopen the curve and then third rail Burscough to Southport. That would certainly be very popular in Ormskirk.

Has there ever been a survey of that bridge coming out of Wigan Wallgate under the WCML? I'm pretty doubtful whether you could get OHLE under there - and I wouldn't fancy either lowering the Wallgate line, or raising the bridge with the WCML on top. I'd be sore tempted to go for third rail from Wallgate to both Southport and Kirkby with the changeover to OHLE in Wallgate station. That would be more than an infill scheme though, so it will never happen.
 
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Deepgreen

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Are there any possible places where third rail could be installed, rather than OHLE?

Obviously, they would need to be in-fill on third rail, but most of the old Southern Railway region is already electric, and OHLE conversion is already being looked at, so converting bits of Southern seems unlikely (see the North Downs Line thread). Uckfield and Marshlink fall into this category too.

But I expect that if the Stanlow refinery ever closed, they'd do Ellesmere Port to Helsby as infill - OHLE doesn't seem very likely to ever come to Merseyrail; I believe that the tunnels are very tight for overhead space.

If the Skelmersdale line is ever built, that will be third rail, presumably.

And I've wondered about Ormskirk to Burscough, reopen the curve and then third rail Burscough to Southport. That would certainly be very popular in Ormskirk.

Has there ever been a survey of that bridge coming out of Wigan Wallgate under the WCML? I'm pretty doubtful whether you could get OHLE under there - and I wouldn't fancy either lowering the Wallgate line, or raising the bridge with the WCML on top. I'd be sore tempted to go for third rail from Wallgate to both Southport and Kirkby with the changeover to OHLE in Wallgate station. That would be more than an infill scheme though, so it will never happen.

On the North Downs line electrification thread it has been categorically stated by several posters that no additional third rail anywhere at all in the UK will be countenanced from now on.
 

notlob.divad

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I doubt you'll see any new third rail now. Not even infill
I tend to agree. The only place I could ever see extra 3rd rail put in would be if one of the Edge Hill Spur schemes where ever implemented. However as soon as the tracks left the tunnels they would switch over to OHLE.

But I expect that if the Stanlow refinery ever closed, they'd do Ellesmere Port to Helsby as infill - OHLE doesn't seem very likely to ever come to Merseyrail; I believe that the tunnels are very tight for overhead space.

If the Skelmersdale line is ever built, that will be third rail, presumably.

And I've wondered about Ormskirk to Burscough, reopen the curve and then third rail Burscough to Southport. That would certainly be very popular in Ormskirk.

I think more likely as the equipment becomes life expired it will get cut back to just the core so that it is only the bits in the tunnels that really need to be 3rd rail are kept and the overground bits, particularly if they ever can extend it, change to OHLE.

Has there ever been a survey of that bridge coming out of Wigan Wallgate under the WCML? I'm pretty doubtful whether you could get OHLE under there - and I wouldn't fancy either lowering the Wallgate line, or raising the bridge with the WCML on top. I'd be sore tempted to go for third rail from Wallgate to both Southport and Kirkby with the changeover to OHLE in Wallgate station. That would be more than an infill scheme though, so it will never happen.

They have lowered sections of track worse than the Wallgate / WCML bridge as part of the existing OHLE projects. I would have thought the tunnel under the station building itself and the Orrell to Upholland tunnel would be the bigger issues. If you wanted to change OHLE to 3rd rail at Wallgate. I would be looking to shut the Wallgate station and move the platforms south to the other side of the big multistory car park to combine the two stations in a similar way to Liverpool South Parkway but then I think that would be a good idea irrespective of electrification, it would not have a particularly great BCR but it would turn two grotty run down stations into a user friendly interchange.
 
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Camden

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The case for Skelmersdale is online and I believe states third rail. I expect Wigan would also be so.

I believe a precursor to Skelmersdale is likely soon, Headbolt Lane?

The third rail vs OHLE discussions are tired. Third rail has its place, particularly low speed routes with stops a minute apart, just not on 100mph lines.
 
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najaB

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On the North Downs line electrification thread it has been categorically stated by several posters that no additional third rail anywhere at all in the UK will be countenanced from now on.
I don't recall any such assertion from any poster who would be in a position to comment on official policy.
 

greaterwest

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I don't recall any such assertion from any poster who would be in a position to comment on official policy.

And indeed as per the Wessex Route Study (and as per my posts in that thread) a third rail infill scheme isn't totally out of the question, no matter how unlikely it is.
 

61653 HTAFC

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If work on any Merseyrail extensions were to start today, there'd be a case for going with DC so that services could run ahead of the replacement stock (which WILL be dual-voltage or at least be capable of conversion) coming in. This would probably only apply for relatively short extensions though- think Kirkby to Headbolt Lane or Ormskirk to Burscough Bridge. Anything beyond that may as well be AC as it'd be unlikely to open within the lifetime of the current stock.
 

miami

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If Uckfield were electrified, would that not be 3rd rail?
 

greaterwest

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If Uckfield were electrified, would that not be 3rd rail?

Likewise Ore-Ashford, being the only other line South-East of London that isn't electrified.

I don't know what the plans are for those, though.
 
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61653 HTAFC

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If Uckfield were electrified, would that not be 3rd rail?

One of the reasons it wasnt electrified earlier (as a follow-on from East Grinstead for example) is the difficulty of connecting to the National Grid at a sufficiently high capacity. DC requires more access points at closer intervals whereas AC to Uckfield could be fed from a single point at Hurst Green or (along with conversion of E-G) South Croydon.
 

miami

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Likewise Ore-Hastings, being the only other line South-East of London that isn't electrified.

I don't know what the plans are for those, though.

I thought Ore to Hastings was electrified, it's Ore to Ashford that isn't. If that were, it would be as an extension to HS1, so OHEL to Hastings.
 

greaterwest

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I thought Ore to Hastings was electrified, it's Ore to Ashford that isn't. If that were, it would be as an extension to HS1, so OHEL to Hastings.

Indeed it was Ore-Ashford that I meant to say, having been that way before I should know!
 

Camden

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If work on any Merseyrail extensions were to start today, there'd be a case for going with DC so that services could run ahead of the replacement stock (which WILL be dual-voltage or at least be capable of conversion) coming in. This would probably only apply for relatively short extensions though- think Kirkby to Headbolt Lane or Ormskirk to Burscough Bridge. Anything beyond that may as well be AC as it'd be unlikely to open within the lifetime of the current stock.
Flawed arguments, had many times over. DC third rail is more cost effective for the Merseyrail network, there is no imperative for adding cost onto the fleet for the sake of extensions. All new third rail rolling stock has to be capable of being converted into AC stock, solely for cascade flexibility, not for operational insistence.

Where this flexibility could come into play operationally is if the Edge Hill scheme were ever to go ahead. In this case you'd be looking at a choice of third rail electrifying all the lines out of Lime Street, or using what is already there. Obviously in this case and this case alone, it would make sense to have a small fleet capable of running on both.

Skelmersdale, Warrington, Wigan and the Airport are the most likely candidates for network extensions within the next few decades, and there is about as much chance of (or sense in) those being OHLE as anyone sticking a pantograph on top of one of these https://www.flickr.com/photos/21602076@N05/4945833129/
 

notlob.divad

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Where this flexibility could come into play operationally is if the Edge Hill scheme were ever to go ahead. In this case you'd be looking at a choice of third rail electrifying all the lines out of Lime Street, or using what is already there. Obviously in this case and this case alone, it would make sense to have a small fleet capable of running on both.
Agreed

Skelmersdale, Warrington, Wigan and the Airport are the most likely candidates for network extensions within the next few decades, and there is about as much chance of (or sense in) those being OHLE as anyone sticking a pantograph on top of one of these https://www.flickr.com/photos/21602076@N05/4945833129/

Disagree. Liverpool South Parkway to Trafford Park would be a very sensible OHLE project it would make no sense extending 3rd rail to Warrington when OHLE would be useable by many more services.

I take your point about Kirkby - Skelmersdale or Ormskirk - Skelmersdale being 3rd rail extensions, but if the southern approach is taken (as seems to be the more likely), the Wigan - Skelmersdale part would be an OHLE extension assuming they can get this through the Upholland Tunnel.
 

po8crg

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Skelmersdale, Warrington, Wigan and the Airport are the most likely candidates for network extensions within the next few decades, and there is about as much chance of (or sense in) those being OHLE as anyone sticking a pantograph on top of one of these https://www.flickr.com/photos/21602076@N05/4945833129/

I won't agree in respect of Warrington - the CLC line carries a number of fast/semi-fast services, frequently running well beyond Manchester, and connects to overhead electrified track at Trafford Park. There's no way that the CLC would be electrified with anything other than OHLE, allowing it to be used as a diversionary route for the Chat Moss.
 

Camden

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Disagree. Liverpool South Parkway to Trafford Park would be a very sensible OHLE project it would make no sense extending 3rd rail to Warrington when OHLE would be useable by many more services.

I take your point about Kirkby - Skelmersdale or Ormskirk - Skelmersdale being 3rd rail extensions, but if the southern approach is taken (as seems to be the more likely), the Wigan - Skelmersdale part would be an OHLE extension assuming they can get this through the Upholland Tunnel.
Whether Wigan to Skelmersdale is third rail or not will depend solely on whether it is a Merseyrail extension, from Liverpool and Skelmersdale, or whether it is a Northern Rail electrification to Skelmersdale from Wigan. As Wigan is likely to figure in Greater Manchester's tram-train aspirations as a terminus, that would look unlikely, and a Merseyrail extension more likely, and that will be third rail.

For Warrington, there would be no other trains using the third rail line. It would consist of largely separate tracks terminating in Warrington as part of a project also dealing with the interface south of Liverpool South Parkway. Likely at the same time as anything to with the Airport. You couldn't run a clockface six trains an hour Merseyrail service mixed in with the other trains and so a separate line, as it was always intended to be, is necessary. Whatever happens to other services running through Warrington on the National Rail network wouldn't be relevant.
 
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edwin_m

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For Warrington, there would be no other trains using the third rail line. It would consist of largely separate tracks terminating in Warrington as part of a project also dealing with the interface south of Liverpool South Parkway. Likely at the same time as anything to with the Airport. You couldn't run a clockface six trains an hour Merseyrail service mixed in with the other trains and so a separate line, as it was always intended to be, is necessary. Whatever happens to other services running through Warrington on the National Rail network wouldn't be relevant.

That sounds very ambitious, and little if any of this line was previously four-track so it would be very difficult to widen the formation.

Far more likely that a Merseyrail train would be extended every 30min or so to Warrington or beyond in place of one of the existing stoppers. That would work far better with AC electrification and dual-voltage on some or all of the Merseyrail fleet. Laying third rail to Warrington would make any AC electrification through to Manchester technically more difficult and damage the business case for it.
 

WatcherZero

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Skelmersdale new station and electrification extension would be third rail though understood that would then be the maximum extent of 3rd rail, Skelmersdale to Wigan would remain diesel for the foreseeable future and if it was done would likely be overheard.

Wallgate bridge was looked at when they decided to do electrification from Bolton to North Western. It was decided that doing the extra couple of hundred meters to Wallgate as well would be prohibitively expensive due to structures work required.
 

Camden

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That sounds very ambitious, and little if any of this line was previously four-track so it would be very difficult to widen the formation.

Far more likely that a Merseyrail train would be extended every 30min or so to Warrington or beyond in place of one of the existing stoppers. That would work far better with AC electrification and dual-voltage on some or all of the Merseyrail fleet. Laying third rail to Warrington would make any AC electrification through to Manchester technically more difficult and damage the business case for it.
I can't see that happening, for the sake of what you're talking about it's a lot of expense for very little if any benefit.

The only way Merseyrail will reach Warrington is via an ambitious programme. I would hasten to add that of the ones I listed before, Warrington is absolutely at the end of the list in terms of likelihood (bearing in mind it has been like this since the 70s). I don't think OHLE into Manchester is much of an issue, given how the line has been very much left out of any improvements already, it's not on the radar (despite its inclusion in a northern priorities report).
 
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notlob.divad

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Pardon my ignorance (I assume there would be no business case - but ---- ) is the tunnel reborable as in Farnworth scenario?

I have absolutely no idea whether this would be necessary or doable. It is significantly longer than Farnworth, and I think teleportation will be here before they consider it.

I won't agree in respect of Warrington - the CLC line carries a number of fast/semi-fast services, frequently running well beyond Manchester, and connects to overhead electrified track at Trafford Park. There's no way that the CLC would be electrified with anything other than OHLE, allowing it to be used as a diversionary route for the Chat Moss.
Agree 100% with this statement.

Whether Wigan to Skelmersdale is third rail or not will depend solely on whether it is a Merseyrail extension, from Liverpool and Skelmersdale, or whether it is a Northern Rail electrification to Skelmersdale from Wigan. As Wigan is likely to figure in Greater Manchester's tram-train aspirations as a terminus, that would look unlikely, and a Merseyrail extension more likely, and that will be third rail.
Equally I think Merseytravel/Merseyrail would be unlikely to want to extend beyond Skelmersdale, why would they want to reverse a train to go three more stops serving a flow of people mainly travelling away from there centre of economic interest.

For Warrington, there would be no other trains using the third rail line. It would consist of largely separate tracks terminating in Warrington as part of a project also dealing with the interface south of Liverpool South Parkway. Likely at the same time as anything to with the Airport. You couldn't run a clockface six trains an hour Merseyrail service mixed in with the other trains and so a separate line, as it was always intended to be, is necessary. Whatever happens to other services running through Warrington on the National Rail network wouldn't be relevant.

See below. It would only ever be Two/Three trains an hour, but who is to say the future of Merseyrail will be a clock face service? There are already reports that during the Limestreet Blockade, they are looking to run none-stop Liverpool South Parkway - Liverpool Central extension in between the existing all stops services. This could well be a model for the future, we just don't know.

That sounds very ambitious, and little if any of this line was previously four-track so it would be very difficult to widen the formation.

Agreed. There is no chance of 4 tracking the CLC or running a new route. Unless it was a part of HS2/HS3 both of which seem to reach apoint of impass when turning West of the current WCML alignment.

Far more likely that a Merseyrail train would be extended every 30min or so to Warrington or beyond in place of one of the existing stoppers. That would work far better with AC electrification and dual-voltage on some or all of the Merseyrail fleet. Laying third rail to Warrington would make any AC electrification through to Manchester technically more difficult and damage the business case for it.

Absolutely. I see this as the future of CLC stopping services. Possibly only as far as Warrington Central. With the Manchester side being part of some Manchester Crossrail / Possibly Tram-train contraption.

Skelmersdale new station and electrification extension would be third rail though understood that would then be the maximum extent of 3rd rail, Skelmersdale to Wigan would remain diesel for the foreseeable future and if it was done would likely be overheard.
That is how I would see it.


Wallgate bridge was looked at when they decided to do electrification from Bolton to North Western. It was decided that doing the extra couple of hundred meters to Wallgate as well would be prohibitively expensive due to structures work required.
Interesting, presumably that is the station building tunnel, not the WCML bridge. This will presumably make any future electrification beyond this point with current technology prohibitively expensive as well.
 

Camden

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Equally I think Merseytravel/Merseyrail would be unlikely to want to extend beyond Skelmersdale, why would they want to reverse a train to go three more stops serving a flow of people mainly travelling away from there centre of economic interest.
The long term approach is to have a junction enabling Merseyrail trains to go from Liverpool to either Skelmersdale or Wigan, not both on the same trip. Obviously providing a junction allows it there is nothing to stop diesel trains going from Skelmersdale into Wigan and beyond, on top of this. I'm assuming you're in Warrington, but haven't you read the report?
 

D6975

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I thought Ore to Hastings was electrified, it's Ore to Ashford that isn't. If that were, it would be as an extension to HS1, so OHEL to Hastings.

More likely to be third rail actually.
It is not possible to access the Hastings line from HS1 without 2 reversals. A through OHL connection would involve extensive rebuilding of the east end of Ashford station, which isn't going to happen.
 

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Upton

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I always wondered why in the 80s, when Merseyrail electrified the line from Rock Ferry to Chester and Ellesemere Port, the Borders Line from Bidston to Heswall (or even Neston) was ignored. Surely that is one line that could be considered for a third rail?
 

D1009

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I always wondered why in the 80s, when Merseyrail electrified the line from Rock Ferry to Chester and Ellesemere Port, the Borders Line from Bidston to Heswall (or even Neston) was ignored. Surely that is one line that could be considered for a third rail?
Probably to do with the newly constructed M53 next to it?
 

WatcherZero

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Interesting, presumably that is the station building tunnel, not the WCML bridge. This will presumably make any future electrification beyond this point with current technology prohibitively expensive as well.

Wallgate bridge is the street, shops (which are owned by Network Rail) and station building yes. It was mainly as the Bolton-Wigan concept was it could be done on a shoestring, no major tunnels/bridge works required, no new grid feeds, just plain straight cable runs. Which made it easy to financially justify as a diversionary electric route for Bolton-Preston and you could move the Wigan via Bolton origin services over to electric which would be 90% under the wire afterwards by changing the start point to North Western rather than Wallgate.

If you were doing to Southport/Skelmersdale it would be a larger budget which could justify those kind of expensive clearance works averaged over a longer distance of track.

There is a Wallgate-North Western station merger project bobbing around on the horizon which could allow Wallgates platforms to be electrified during a long closure for platform/station building works, Wallgate Bridge itself is also cracking and needs proper attention theyve kicked that problem into the mid term by installing extra steel supports under the arches but will need to be addressed at some point.
 
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JamesRowden

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More likely to be third rail actually.
It is not possible to access the Hastings line from HS1 without 2 reversals. A through OHL connection would involve extensive rebuilding of the east end of Ashford station, which isn't going to happen.

Or simply build a connection between HS1 and the Maidstone East Line to allow HS1 access to Platforms 1 and 2 at Ashford.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I thought Ore to Hastings was electrified, it's Ore to Ashford that isn't. If that were, it would be as an extension to HS1, so OHEL to Hastings.

A Network Rail presentation that was uploaded to this forum included a Suggestion of electifying Ore-Ashford with AC as an add-on to a Tunbridge Wells to Ore DC to AC conversion. The present power supply does not allow all peak services to be 12-car and the Kent RUS described the work required to upgrade the existing DC power supply as the equivalent of 'electifying an unelectified line'.

The presentation also included converting all lines east of Faversham and Ashford to AC, converting East Croydon to East Grinstead to AC with the Uckfield line as a possible add-on, and converting Gatwick to Brighton to AC.
 
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