Wires down at St Neots (28/03)

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NSE

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Just been to St Neots and the wires have been pulled down. 365512 is the unit at the head of an 8 coach train with the pantograph arm bent back and hanging off the side of the train.
All trains showing as delayed/cancelled.
Police in attendance.
 

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GRALISTAIR

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Perhaps this is naïve of me - but, since they will eventually replace headspans with sturdier structure, could this be done now? I will answer my own question - they need to get service back up and running ASAP so they will do what is expedient.
 

NSE

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I'd be inclined to agree with you. I can only assume that as the train was stopping the damage done was less than if it had been an 225 chucking through at 125
 

LNW-GW Joint

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I didn't take NR long to abandon services for the rest of the day.
I'm surprised there are not more enraged folk describing what it is like on the stuck trains or waiting at King's Cross.
The WCML is on a restricted service too, so won't welcome extra passengers.
I can see a couple of HST diversions via Ely.
 

najaB

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Perhaps this is naïve of me - but, since they will eventually replace headspans with sturdier structure, could this be done now? I will answer my own question - they need to get service back up and running ASAP so they will do what is expedient.
You answered it correctly: get it up and running in a few hours by repairing the headspan, or a few days by replacing it.
 

ChiefPlanner

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Been a tad windy around here today / overnight - and there is a lot of various tree etcdebris kicking around - dewirements can just as easily be caused by objects in the pan well or wrapped onto the OLE , rather than the issue over head spans versus other forms of OLE.

Lots of floodwater on the rural roads in Herts - some nearer canals than tarmac roads...
 

61653 HTAFC

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I'd be inclined to agree with you. I can only assume that as the train was stopping the damage done was less than if it had been an 225 chucking through at 125

Still looks a mess! GC Bradford service turned back at Peterborough but still lost an hour somewhere on the return. Good thing I saw this thread as I was planning on using the down GC from Mirfield to Brighouse. As it turned out, the Huddersfield and onward to Denby Dale connection from there ran fast via Dewsbury too (train fault according to NRE) to form the Sheffield, and I wouldn't have known in advance otherwise!
 
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Andyh82

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The wires seem to come down on the ECML far too often. Today's storm isn't even particularly in that area. Surely it is time to upgrade the infrastructure. I would think it is a greater priority than HS2/HS3 etc.
 

southernyoshi

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Forgive me if this is a silly question, but why don't we make more use of third rail? It must be more sturdy than overhead lines :/
 

ainsworth74

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Already happening.

Plus it would appear that this might have something to do with the unit rather than the infrastructure. Though I'm sure the TOC and Network Rail will be fighting it out as we speak to deny all responsibility.
 

LeeLivery

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Forgive me if this is a silly question, but why don't we make more use of third rail? It must be more sturdy than overhead lines :/

Because its s**t. Third Rail can only be powered to 750-800V DC. Trains can just about reach 100mph certainly not 125mph or faster. Its also unsafe if you fall (or get pushed) on to the track, lots of energy is wasted from heat and finally during snow, ice and leaf fall it is a nightmare. Third Rail should of never been favoured by the Southern companies and the quicker its gone the better.
 
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MrB

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Because its s**t. Third Rail can only be powered to 750-800V DC. Trains can just about reach 100mph certainly not 125mph or faster. Its also unsafe if you fall (or get pushed) on to the track, lots of energy is wasted from heat and finally during snow, ice and leaf fall it is a nightmare. Third Rail should of never been favoured by the Southern companies and the quicker its gone the better.

Couldn't agree more, severely cold weather causes an absolute nightmare down here in Kent!
 

61653 HTAFC

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Been a tad windy around here today / overnight - and there is a lot of various tree etcdebris kicking around - dewirements can just as easily be caused by objects in the pan well or wrapped onto the OLE , rather than the issue over head spans versus other forms of OLE.

Lots of floodwater on the rural roads in Herts - some nearer canals than tarmac roads...

I was under the impression that the issue with headspans wasn't so much that they're more likely to come down, more that if one track's wire comes down it drags the others with it.
 

westcoaster

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looking at the picture, it looks like the train is on the closest line, and not under the headspan, but under portals (to me it looks like the contact wire is still in place)
 

NSE

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Yeah, the train was on the down slow. It was sitting with just the drivers can on the southern end of platform 1.. Fortunately I wasn't traveling.
 

Philip Phlopp

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If I remember correctly, it's headspans upto the point the tracks separate for the platforms, and there's a random assortment of headspans across all the tracks and platforms, plus a couple of truncated headspans with single track cantilevers where buildings prevented one headspan covering all the tracks.

I'd be fairly surprised if the damage happened within the length of the platform, that's some pretty nasty damage to the pantograph. It did stay bolted onto the roof of the train though, which is an improvement all round.
 

jopsuk

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Saw VTEC and GC trains through Cambridge mid afternoon, certainly that wasn't on the plan!
 

GRALISTAIR

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I know there is only so much you can electrify at once plus budgetary considerations, but electrified diversionary routes look more and more desirable as railways continue their growth.
 

Julia

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I was under the impression that the issue with headspans wasn't so much that they're more likely to come down, more that if one track's wire comes down it drags the others with it.

Are they *that* much more likely to come down or bring others down that it makes more sense to replace them all (given limited resources and people) compared to getting on and completing other wirings, including diversionary fill-ins?
 

cjmillsnun

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Because its s**t. Third Rail can only be powered to 750-800V DC. Trains can just about reach 100mph certainly not 125mph or faster. Its also unsafe if you fall (or get pushed) on to the track, lots of energy is wasted from heat and finally during snow, ice and leaf fall it is a nightmare. Third Rail should of never been favoured by the Southern companies and the quicker its gone the better.

Third rail also needs substations every few miles whereas feeders on 25kV OHLE can be a long way apart in comparison.
 

Philip Phlopp

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Are they *that* much more likely to come down or bring others down that it makes more sense to replace them all (given limited resources and people) compared to getting on and completing other wirings, including diversionary fill-ins?

They're not being replaced, they're being converted. It's a relatively small project compared to full electrification projects, with their piling, mast erections, wiring runs, feeder and sectioning equipment installations, signalling immunisation or re-wiring, gauge clearance work and so on.
 

GRALISTAIR

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Don't want to go OT - but with railway growth there are 3 main areas as I see it.
1) New HS railways plus Cross Rail etc all electrified from the start.
2) New build electrification where it is currently diesel
3) Retrofit already electrified routes including 750DC 3rd rail conversion and headspan to portal et al conversion.

All will have their opinions. There is only so much money in the pot. Politics will interfere. These 3 areas all require a slightly different skill set.
 

Phil.

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Because its s**t. Third Rail can only be powered to 750-800V DC. Trains can just about reach 100mph certainly not 125mph or faster. Its also unsafe if you fall (or get pushed) on to the track, lots of energy is wasted from heat and finally during snow, ice and leaf fall it is a nightmare. Third Rail should of never been favoured by the Southern companies and the quicker its gone the better.

It might be **** but it doesn't get blown down every time that the weather gets windy. For an outer suburban service like most of what was B.R.'s southern region it's ideal. It suffers during ice and snow because el cheapo Network Rail won't pay for ghost trains to be run as in the days of black and white and leaves are a problem on any line with trees near them because the trees are never trimmed back like they used to be. Have a look at pictures of line-sides of fifty plus years ago. You'll see no trees and bushes adjacent to the line. There was a reason why the southern railway stuck to third rail.
 

najaB

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It might be **** but it doesn't get blown down every time that the weather gets windy.
Neither does the knitting elsewhere on the network. How often do you hear about the WCML or GEML having wiring problems due to the wind? The ECML was wired on the cheap, but they're fixing it.
 

HowardGWR

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Neither does the knitting elsewhere on the network. How often do you hear about the WCML or GEML having wiring problems due to the wind? The ECML was wired on the cheap, but they're fixing it.

Is there a project to do that or is it a piecemeal effort. So with this latest one, will a local replacement instead of a repair take place?
 

LeeLivery

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It might be **** but it doesn't get blown down every time that the weather gets windy. For an outer suburban service like most of what was B.R.'s southern region it's ideal. It suffers during ice and snow because el cheapo Network Rail won't pay for ghost trains to be run as in the days of black and white and leaves are a problem on any line with trees near them because the trees are never trimmed back like they used to be. Have a look at pictures of line-sides of fifty plus years ago. You'll see no trees and bushes adjacent to the line. There was a reason why the southern railway stuck to third rail.

The whole reason third rail was installed was because of SR companies being el cheapo! OHLE was installed first on the Crystal Palace route and they got rid in favour of cheap third rail. Wires elsewhere don't get blown down every time it gets windy. Last time I checked windy Scotland, the Alps, other main lines and high speed lines around the world deal with it quite well. No reason why the TOCs couldn't run more ghost trains either, NR isn't exactly rolling around in surplus. Like said above the ECML, GWML and MML was knitted cheap by BR because of financial starvation.
 
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