Trivia: Which looks best? (Poll)

Electrification, what looks best?

  • Naked - OHLE is the work of Satan (third rail is okay though).

    Votes: 17 15.2%
  • Headspans - Like the slender look.

    Votes: 36 32.1%
  • Portals - The beefier the better!

    Votes: 38 33.9%
  • I don't care - I'm just here for the trains

    Votes: 21 18.8%

  • Total voters
    112
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najaB

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A YouTube video posted on another thread has this in the description: "I will keep filming north of Bedford before electrification ruins the landscape. Kinda hoping to squeeze one more summer in before the wires go up."

But at the same time, I've read more than one poster here say that an electrified railway looks like "a proper railway".

So, purely on aesthetics - leaving aside technical considerations - which do you think looks best? A 'naked' railway, electrified with headspans or electrified with portals?

Edit: Based on GrimsbyPacer's feedback on the options:
 
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alexl92

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I know it's weird but I don't; like third rail. If there has to be electification, then headspan. But preferably diesels!
 

61653 HTAFC

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As the question deals solely with aesthetics, headspans. However despite looking neater, that's of little consolation when an entire 4-track railway is kaput due to one pan on the slow lines becoming entangled and bringing the whole lot down!
 

najaB

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OHLE > third rail but what about cantilevers? That would be my preference, aside from any technical considerations.
I did think of cantilevers, but only after I'd created the poll. :oops: Are there any railways that use them (almost) exclusively?
 

Philip Phlopp

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I did think of cantilevers, but only after I'd created the poll. :oops: Are there any railways that use them (almost) exclusively?

What sort of cantilevers, single track (i.e mast, cantilever, registration arm for one line) or twin track cantilevers ?

GOBLIN will use twin track cantilevers extensively.

Oh, and headspans for me, of course. I'm especially delighted by the ones Helen Keller Rail Electrification Projects Ltd have designed for Glasgow Queen Street.
 
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najaB

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What sort of cantilevers, single track (i.e mast, cantilever, registration arm for one line) or twin track cantilevers?
Was thinking twin track - single track have the same visual impact as headspans, at least to me.
 

Philip Phlopp

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Was thinking twin track - single track have the same visual impact as headspans, at least to me.

I know a few people who would have a mast and single cantilever for each track, and a single mast with back to back single cantilevers in the centre of four track alignments, with single masts on the outer pair of tracks.

It's the right idea in a few places, but not everywhere.
 

EM2

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Had to laugh at the first option! A colleague's Twitter bio says 'I may have been born and bred in the land of the Devil's knitting...' and it's always tickled me :D
 

crehld

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A YouTube video posted on another thread has this in the description: "I will keep filming north of Bedford before electrification ruins the landscape. Kinda hoping to squeeze one more summer in before the wires go up."

This seems a rather silly position to take, given the presence of the railway cutting through the landscape has already 'ruined' it!

The electrification vs landscape thing crops up very often on this forum and, personally, I fail to see what people get so worked up about. A favourite topic seems to be the question of should (let alone would!) the Settle-Carlisle railway be electrified and would this spoil the naturally beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. A 'naturally' beautiful landscape formed, of course, by thousands of miles of 'natural' dry stone walling, many thousands more of 'natural' barbed wire fencing and gates, 'naturally' short grassland resulting from 'natural' livestock farming, 'natural' quarrying and copper and lead mining activities, 'natural' limestone housing and many other (not so) 'natural' features.

The fact is perhaps aside from the remotest parts of the Scottish highlands there are no naturally occurring landscapes in the UK which have escaped human intervention. Our landscapes have been worked intensively for thousands of years and continue to evolve. Indeed, you could argue that, if done right and with sensitivity, human intervention and infrastructure might enhance the 'natural' landscape (e.g. Ribblehead Viaduct, Forth Bridge, Great Wall of China...). This is in fact recognized with our most protected landscapes in this country (national parks and AONBs) which are all designated category V protected areas by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which are actively managed by humans who interfere with the landscape.

My house in Staffordshire overlooks the the WCML, which is 250 metres away. It has portals but you have look VERY hard to notice.
 

najaB

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This seems a rather silly position to take, given the presence of the railway cutting through the landscape has already 'ruined' it!....
Well said! But it seems to be an issue for some exactly as you said.
 

SpacePhoenix

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Overhead is better then 3rd rail, for one thing it allows a unit to accellerate better (Desiros and I think possibly (not sure) Electrostars) and it's also safer for anyone who has a legitimate need to be trackside
 

najaB

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Overhead is better then 3rd rail, for one thing it allows a unit to accellerate better (Desiros and I think possibly (not sure) Electrostars) and it's also safer for anyone who has a legitimate need to be trackside
I know, but we're leaving technical merit aside. :)
 

rebmcr

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Third rail looks a lot more aesthetically pleasing than headspans or portals, especially if there is a 442 running on it...

The pointwork and the high-level jumper cables on the trains look terribly messy though. Third-rail just feels very sub-standard to be around.
 

Starmill

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Personally I think tramway-style looks best, with a pole in the middle and a registration arm to both sides :) very neat.
 

GRALISTAIR

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T A 'naturally' beautiful landscape formed, of course, by thousands of miles of 'natural' dry stone walling, many thousands more of 'natural' barbed wire fencing and gates, 'naturally' short grassland resulting from 'natural' livestock farming, 'natural' quarrying and copper and lead mining activities, 'natural' limestone housing and many other (not so) 'natural' features.

outstanding post - I totally agree.
 

bramling

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A YouTube video posted on another thread has this in the description: "I will keep filming north of Bedford before electrification ruins the landscape. Kinda hoping to squeeze one more summer in before the wires go up."

But at the same time, I've read more than one poster here say that an electrified railway looks like "a proper railway".

So, purely on aesthetics - leaving aside technical considerations - which do you think looks best? A 'naked' railway, electrified with headspans or electrified with portals?

Edit: Based on GrimsbyPacer's feedback on the options:

Completely discounting technical suitability, third rail is massively superior visually, especially as it allows bridges to be left unaltered.

Personally I find by far the most attractive overhead electrification to be the 1940s design, as used on Liverpool Street-Southend and the Woodhead schemes.

My least favourite is headspans as found on the ECML, for some reason I find the similar designs at the north end of the WCML somehow appear less intrusive. The GWML designs so far look pretty ugly, however perhaps they will improve a little when weathered.
 

najaB

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A pretty even split between headspans and portals, but a clear preference for either compared to no OHLE. Interesting. :)
 

3141

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If you want a railway to look important and well-used, OHLE would be best. It would have been installed because the line has fast and heavy traffic. Portals convey that impression best because they have a greater visual impact.

But OHLE causes the presence of a railway there to be visible from a much greater distance. It sticks up in flat countryside and on embankments and may even be visible poking up above shallower cuttings. It requires supports to be stuck into platforms and over bridges and viaducts.

So if "which looks best?" means which one has least visual impact, the answer would be no electrification (or "naked", to use a technical term).
 

3141

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Nope. I want to know what *you* find most pleasing - when does it look 'right'?

But what I find "most pleasing" or looks "right" may also be the one that has least visual impact.

I might consider the line that looks "right" to be the one that has on it piece of rolling stock that's emitting large puffs of smoke.

On the other hand, some apparently find the one with the heaviest visual impact the most pleasing.

The Secretary of State for Transport and the Chairman and Chief Executive of Network Rail may find the GWML will look "most pleasing" when it's got working OHLE throughout, though their reasons may not be aesthetic ones, and they probably won't care exactly what's holding the wires up.
 

najaB

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But what I find "most pleasing" or looks "right" may also be the one that has least visual impact.
Then choose that option. This isn't a scientific survey, it is a fun poll to find out what people think. If it offends you, you don't have to play. :p
 
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