What is the fastest speed in the UK for facing points line change?

38Cto15E

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As per the header what is the highest speed trains can transit facing points anywhere in the UK where trains switch from one line to another, either fast to slow or a different route?
If it is HS1 what is the fastest on the normal network?

This came into my head when entering Darlington this week, the avoiding lines are the quickest. ( I know they are straight as opposed to going via the station) but I wondered if with upgraded facing points speed into the station could be increased given virtually all passenger trains call at Darlington these days.
 
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rugbymidland

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Just north of Rugby station the down fast splits with a long y-shaped set of points , Coventry line on left fork ,Trent Valley on right - 125 mph limit on either route
 

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jfollows

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In other words, there is no limit to the speed of a facing point provided enough space is available and enough money is spent! So the reality is that 125mph turnouts like at Rugby and south of York are the exception rather than the rule.
 

zwk500

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This came into my head when entering Darlington this week, the avoiding lines are the quickest. ( I know they are straight as opposed to going via the station) but I wondered if with upgraded facing points speed into the station could be increased given virtually all passenger trains call at Darlington these days.
The limiting factor at Darlington is the curvature of the platforms and the proximity of the junctions, which restricts the available space for the turnouts. Turnout speed is almost entirely driven by length of the curve, so without closing some lines or demolishing the station only minor improvements are possible.
The best thing for Darlo is to build a platform on the Up goods loop to remove conflicting up mainline moves.
 

38Cto15E

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Thanks for the answers BM's, I never dreamed that there were 125 mph facing points on the system.FWIW, I thought around 85mph max.

When going from say down fast to down slow via the up fast are the maximum speeds for these junctions around 70mph?

For diverging facing points, are there more safety fittings the higher the speed of the junction or is it just the angle and the cant which are important once you go above a certain speed?

The ECML is not 'my line' but I am sure years ago there were more passenger services which by-passed Darlington station.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I believe the turnout for southbound trains at Colton Junction on the East Coast Main Line is 125mph.

From the sectional appendix diagrams:
The straight-ahead route south at Colton is 100mph (on to the original but lesser-used Normanton line), and 125 on the ECML towards Doncaster.
The northbound route is 125 from both directions, but only for a short distance on the Normanton line.
Maybe the speeds will change after electrification to Church Fenton.
The Leeds lines (connected to the ECML lines only by a 65mph ladder) at Colton are due to go up to 125 I believe.

At Rugby TV Jn, the Trent Valley route is 125 both ways, and the down Coventry is 125), but the up route from Coventry is at 75 over the viaduct.
Some speeds are only available to 390/221 (ie EPS for tilting trains).

With the current frequency of traffic to the divergent routes, the dual 125mph capability at Rugby is used much more often than that at Colton.
 

jfollows

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In terms of fast-slow crossovers, it's often been a case of gradual change. My experience is with the WCML. This was resignalled (at the south end) when electrified by 1966, but many of the existing crossovers (which had to be within lever pull of signal boxes originally) stayed in situ, so you had fast-slow crossovers at places like Hemel Hempstead and Tring at 20mph or 25mph. In particular, Roade was 25mph, the last crossover before the Northampton divergence.
In the early 1970s, benefits were seen by moving the crossovers to straight sections of track, and 70mph crossovers were implemented at Hanslope to replace Roade, similarly in my experience at Didcot East Junction. More recently the WCML has moved crossovers to Ledburn Junction and, most recently, Bourne End Junction for the same reasons. Slow crossovers at Tring and other similar places went a long time ago.
But I don't see a limit on the speed of these crossovers, provided there's a long enough section of straight track, it's a trade-off between speed and money.
 

edwin_m

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From work on high speed rail I believe the highest speed turnout available is about 140mph. This is a huge thing with about 10 motors. The examples planned by HS2 would have a straight route with no particular speed restriction.
 

Senex

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From the sectional appendix diagrams:
The straight-ahead route south at Colton is 100mph (on to the original but lesser-used Normanton line), and 125 on the ECML towards Doncaster.
The northbound route is 125 from both directions, but only for a short distance on the Normanton line.
Maybe the speeds will change after electrification to Church Fenton.
The Leeds lines (connected to the ECML lines only by a 65mph ladder) at Colton are due to go up to 125 I believe.

At Rugby TV Jn, the Trent Valley route is 125 both ways, and the down Coventry is 125), but the up route from Coventry is at 75 over the viaduct.
Some speeds are only available to 390/221 (ie EPS for tilting trains).

With the current frequency of traffic to the divergent routes, the dual 125mph capability at Rugby is used much more often than that at Colton.
Surely Colton has always been 125 up on both? Much was made of this at the time, when the aim had been to use the Normanton lines as the principal cross-country route. However, on the up Normanton the 125 extended only a very short distance south of the slew provided for the junction. The protecting signal is unusual for a junction, in that feathers are provided for both directions (positions 1 and 4) and of course both lines get an unchecked approach to the junction. As for the north ladder, when did that go down from the original 70 to 65, and why, I wonder.
 

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The Planner

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If you speak to a NR track asset manager they will say there are no off the shelf 125mph S&C units. Normally switches are lettered and I dont think go higher than a F switch at the minute. You will into the realms of swing nose for higher speeds now I expect.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Surely Colton has always been 125 up on both? Much was made of this at the time, when the aim had been to use the Normanton lines as the principal cross-country route. However, on the up Normanton the 125 extended only a very short distance south of the slew provided for the junction. The protecting signal is unusual for a junction, in that feathers are provided for both directions (positions 1 and 4) and of course both lines get an unchecked approach to the junction. As for the north ladder, when did that go down from the original 70 to 65, and why, I wonder.
I was using the 2017 SA which shows things a little differently to your 2020 one, making it look like 100mph applies on the Normanton lines south of Colton.
So the junction itself is fully 125-capable, but not supported on the (currently being wired) routes to Castleford/Leeds.
The area seems well-endowed with fast ladders (65/70mph) - one benefit of the dead straight route I suppose.
 

coppercapped

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When the Heathrow Airport branch opened the turnouts from the Down Main to the branch were laid out for 90mph on the diverging route with 125mph remaining on the Down Main. Similarly the branch from the airport joined the 125mph Up Main over a 90mph turnout.

However for some reason the design used became something of a maintenance problem - a lateral jolt developed when travelling on the Main lines when passing over the switch and crossing work. After a while the track was re-aligned and the jolt went away only for it to recur some months later.

Some years later (10? I'm not sure, time flies... :( ) the junction was renewed with 75mph switch and crossing work and the issue with the lateral jolt went away.
 

Ianno87

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I was using the 2017 SA which shows things a little differently to your 2020 one, making it look like 100mph applies on the Normanton lines south of Colton.
So the junction itself is fully 125-capable, but not supported on the (currently being wired) routes to Castleford/Leeds.
The area seems well-endowed with fast ladders (65/70mph) - one benefit of the dead straight route I suppose.

Yes, it's 125 on the Up Normanton until around half a mile after the junction, and then drops to 100.

The main benefits of 125mph both ways is avoiding an approach control. Presumably there may be some track geometry reason so that the Down ECML across the diamond can also be 125mph.
 

Senex

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Other layouts above the "standard" maximum of 70/75 seem to be Weaver on the WCML with 110 on the main lines and 85 to and from Liverpool (with EPSs giving 125 and 100 respectively for Pendolinos), Wolvercote just north of Oxford where the fast and slow lines diverge/merge at 90 on both, Cogload with 100 on the main lines and 90 on the Athelney lines, and possibly Worting on the Southern — here the diagram in the Sectional Appendix makes it look as if there are genuine 90-mph crossovers between fast and slow in each direction but a vague memory suggests that the fasts to and from Basingstoke continue directly into the Winchester lines and the it's the Exeter lines that have the switches for 75.
 

sjm77

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Surely Colton has always been 125 up on both? Much was made of this at the time, when the aim had been to use the Normanton lines as the principal cross-country route. However, on the up Normanton the 125 extended only a very short distance south of the slew provided for the junction. The protecting signal is unusual for a junction, in that feathers are provided for both directions (positions 1 and 4) and of course both lines get an unchecked approach to the junction. As for the north ladder, when did that go down from the original 70 to 65, and why, I wonder.

It is both directions, yes!
However in reality from the Down Normanton the speed limit increases from 100 mph to 125 mph immediately before the junction. Unless speeding the most a train is likely to merge with the ECML Down Main is 101mph!
Southbound you will occasionally see the Up Normanton being taken at 125mph with a brake application ~15 seconds later. This could be when the XC service via Leeds uses the Up Main rather than the more usual Up Leeds South of York. Or when the occasional ECML service is diverted.
 

Jimini

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In terms of fast-slow crossovers, it's often been a case of gradual change. My experience is with the WCML. This was resignalled (at the south end) when electrified by 1966, but many of the existing crossovers (which had to be within lever pull of signal boxes originally) stayed in situ, so you had fast-slow crossovers at places like Hemel Hempstead and Tring at 20mph or 25mph. In particular, Roade was 25mph, the last crossover before the Northampton divergence.
In the early 1970s, benefits were seen by moving the crossovers to straight sections of track, and 70mph crossovers were implemented at Hanslope to replace Roade, similarly in my experience at Didcot East Junction. More recently the WCML has moved crossovers to Ledburn Junction and, most recently, Bourne End Junction for the same reasons. Slow crossovers at Tring and other similar places went a long time ago.
But I don't see a limit on the speed of these crossovers, provided there's a long enough section of straight track, it's a trade-off between speed and money.

I’ve always idly wondered why Hanslope Junction is so far from the point where the lines actually diverge. Thanks for sharing.
 

jfollows

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I’ve always idly wondered why Hanslope Junction is so far from the point where the lines actually diverge. Thanks for sharing.
Yes, Roade Junction was at 59m 71ch whereas Hanslope is at 56m 47ch, so more than 3 miles further from the actual divergence. Hanslope was commissioned 6-7 November 1971 according to my notes (so even I was too young to have travelled over the line before then, I went to school on my own by train starting September 1970 but I wouldn't have been allowed to go to London on my own at that age! (I was 9 in October 1970)).
 
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LNW-GW Joint

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Meanwhile at Rugby northbound there are normally 6tph 125mph trains via the Trent Valley route, mixed with 2tph 125mph to Birmingham (pre-Covid).
The 3rd Birmingham 125mph service calls at Rugby station, so will not use the fast route over TV Jn.
But the facing 125mph switch blades will move 4 times an hour (and a few more times in the evening peak).
 

Snow1964

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Not sure it is still the case, but the fastest on Southern region used to be Worting junction (west of Basingstoke where Southampton and Salisbury lines diverge). Fairly sure the fast (centre pair) of tracks were at least 90mph to the outer tracks which became Southampton line.

Possibly the highest speed turnout with third rail electrification

I think the high speed turnouts were installed nearly 50 years ago
 

Deepgreen

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I imagine the upper limit is at least partly determined by the length and strength of the point blade tips - at some stage they surely become too fine to be sustainable.
 

jfollows

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Not sure it is still the case, but the fastest on Southern region used to be Worting junction (west of Basingstoke where Southampton and Salisbury lines diverge). Fairly sure the fast (centre pair) of tracks were at least 90mph to the outer tracks which became Southampton line.

Possibly the highest speed turnout with third rail electrification

I think the high speed turnouts were installed nearly 50 years ago
Worting Junction is now 90mph Down Fast to Down Southampton & 90 mph Up Southampton to Up Fast (per https://sacuksprodnrdigital0001.blo...Fs/Kent Sectional Appendix September 2021.pdf):
1630768216087.png
 

louis97

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The straight-ahead route south at Colton is 100mph (on to the original but lesser-used Normanton line), and 125 on the ECML towards Doncaster.
You have interpreted the SA incorrectly, the line speed is 125mph for a further mile from Colton Junction on the Up Normanton line.
 

MichaelAMW

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That diagram is a bit misleading as the points on the 90mph "crossovers" were quite some distance apart, so really the Exeter and Southampton lines diverged and the down slow trailed in a short distance later, but it wasn't a crossover in the normal sense. I guess when they resignalled the area, it seemed pointless having a 90mph route toards Exeter as the speed drops to 75mph shortly afterwards, so they saved a bit of money. I can't imagine that causes any delay to a train that has called at Basingstoke less than 3 miles away.

All the points were "Y" shaped - this random internet find shows is fairly well:

 

QueensCurve

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In terms of fast-slow crossovers, it's often been a case of gradual change. My experience is with the WCML. This was resignalled (at the south end) when electrified by 1966, but many of the existing crossovers (which had to be within lever pull of signal boxes originally) stayed in situ, so you had fast-slow crossovers at places like Hemel Hempstead and Tring at 20mph or 25mph. In particular, Roade was 25mph, the last crossover before the Northampton divergence.
In the early 1970s, benefits were seen by moving the crossovers to straight sections of track, and 70mph crossovers were implemented at Hanslope to replace Roade, similarly in my experience at Didcot East Junction. More recently the WCML has moved crossovers to Ledburn Junction and, most recently, Bourne End Junction for the same reasons. Slow crossovers at Tring and other similar places went a long time ago.
But I don't see a limit on the speed of these crossovers, provided there's a long enough section of straight track, it's a trade-off between speed and money.
The Hanslope double ladder Xing was certainly in use by the time I travelled on the Down Royal Scot (diverted via Northampton with 17 mins delay) in 1974.

The Ledburn and Bourne End junctions were intalled around the turn of the millenium. Originally it had been intended to be high speed turnouts with swing-nose Xings. These were later removed and replaced with plain Xings. Turn out speed went down to 60mph.
 

SynthD

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The 125 and 140mph points are referred to as huge a few times. How big? Has this prevented deployment?
 

Tio Terry

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The single to double line junction at Soham was the original test site for ECML 125 mph turn outs during BR days. Not for speed, of course, but for both Civil and S&T Engineering requirements. It was used as a development site for reliability testing before a site was installed in anger.
 

Annetts key

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For diverging facing points, are there more safety fittings the higher the speed of the junction or is it just the angle and the cant which are important once you go above a certain speed?
Higher speed points are longer, hence the switch rails are longer, so yes, more equipment is needed, and being a facing point, yes, most of the equipment is classed as safety critical equipment.
 

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