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Electrification Arrangements at Manchester Piccadilly


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IIRC the TGV sets used to run on 1500v DC in the suburban Paris area before changing to 25kv AC for the purpose built fast lines, using the pan down - pan up method.

I think some sets might've had 3000v DC for Belgium too

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IIRC the TGV sets used to run on 1500v DC in the suburban Paris area before changing to 25kv AC for the purpose built fast lines, using the pan down - pan up method.

I think some sets might've had 3000v DC for Belgium too

 

I've been on a TGV when we crossed from 25Kv to 1500DC just outside Marseille.  We were in the front carriage and I could plainly see the shadow of the pantograph on the field alongside as first the AC one came down then a couple of 100 yards (Though should it be metres) later the other pantograph was raised.

 

Jamie

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The SNCF's Sud Est region was traditionally electrified at 1500V DC and so most of the traditional trackage used by TGVs on that region is 1500V DC.  There were some later electrifications, particularly in the Savoie area and east of Dole on the lines towards Switzerland at 25KV AC and, of course, all of the LGV lines are 25KV AC.  Changeover between the two systems is regularly carried out on the move and has been since the inception of TGV operations.  Similar arrangements apply on the Sud Ouest Region.  Other regions were generally electrified at 25KV AC.

 

Other sets work onto the DB/SBB 15KV AC, FS 3000V DC and I have even seen a RENFE AVE unit at Lyon Part Dieu (with a Eurostar to St Pancras passing a few minutes later!).  Some of these changeovers may take place while trains are stationary but AC / DC changeovers within France generally take place on the move.

 

In the US, the New Haven Railroad was forced to abandon third rail operation in 1907 following a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling in 1906 forbidding the use of 3rd rail in that state.  Since 1907 the change between overhead AC and third rail DC took place on the move at Woodlawn for decades until the catenary was cut back to Pelham in 1993. Even so, the transition still takes place on the move today.  There is no shortage of footage showing multi-car MU trains - each car with its own individual pantograph - raising numerous pantographs in unison to make contact with the overhead wire in the Woodlawn area.

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However, I am still intrigued by the stencil indicators.  What was their purpose?   

They were there to warn the driver if the route was mistakenly set onto the wrong system for the loco. So if driving an AC loco and the stencil shows DC you STOP. (and vice versa).

Regards

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Sorry this is a bit off topic,  :offtopic: and not wanting to argue but I'm sure it's a Spa-Geronstere - Aachen Hbf. hourly service using SNCB EMUs; I travelled on it from Spa-Geronstere to Pepinster on 20 July and Aachen was where it was going, and you can call up the train details on the DB Travel Service Journey Planner which shows the trains terminating at Aachen Hbf. platform 9, which from memory is the island furthest from the station entrance, which the long distance trains to / from Belgium also use.

 

Not sure whether these links will work, or whether they expire after the time has passed:

 

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query2.exe/en?ld=15064&country=GBR&rt=1&OK#focus

 

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/traininfo.exe/en/443094/849840/25590/134907/80?ld=15064&seqnr=2&ident=56.0134064.1472055145&date=24.08.16&station_evaId=8800592&station_type=dep&currentReferrer=tp&rt=1&

 

 

The platforms on the far side of Aachen Hbf (furthest away from the main station entrance) are definitely used for international services and all Thalys and ICE services switch from DB to SNCB / NMBS voltage (or vice-versa) while stationary in the platforms. 

 

Furthermore, the section between Aachen Hbf and the Belgian border at Hergenrath is double track with left-hand running in place; the flyover no longer exists sadly. 

 

The junction for where the high speed line (HSL 3) and the old route between Liege and Aachen diverge is known as Y. Hammerbrucke. That HSL is a great piece of railway to have, just a shame it only has about 10 trains in each direction a day using it!

 

According to the latest SNCB / NMBS international timetable in my possession, there is an hourly service between Spa Geronstiere and Aachen. 

 

And for the record, Aachen isn't a bad place to spend a few days (Cathedral is worth a look) and sadly Welkenraedt doesn't have any entries in the Belgian good beer guide (which is a shame if you happen to be waiting an hour for a connection). 

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...

According to the latest SNCB / NMBS international timetable in my possession, there is an hourly service between Spa Geronstiere and Aachen. 

 

And for the record, Aachen isn't a bad place to spend a few days (Cathedral is worth a look) and sadly Welkenraedt doesn't have any entries in the Belgian good beer guide (which is a shame if you happen to be waiting an hour for a connection). 

Over on the German Drehscheibe forums, someone just posted a pic of that SNCB cross-border local service (scroll down a bit - last photo in 1st post)

http://www.drehscheibe-online.de/foren/read.php?30,7918681

using those ancient-looking 2-car "Nelson" EMUs.

 

I suppose the Belgian good beer guide has to be selective, otherwise it could be a bit like the Yellow Pages!

 

Sorry, we're a long way from Manchester.

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6.25KV/25KV relied on transformers with four 6.25KV primary windings that were paralleled for 6.25KV, and seriesed for 25KV. Quite a mean switch to do that, so no wonder the 6.25KV capability was removed as soon as it was redundant.

 

6.25/25 has a nice 4-1 ratio making it easy to know which voltage you are on, but the USA 25KV/22KV/11KV 60Hz/25Hz AC system must be fun to switch automatically as is 25KV 50Hz to 15KV 17Hz in Europe.

 

I guess telling the difference between DC and AC will be the easiest of all, and it looks like it was never done in the UK because the 1500V DC was seen as obsolete. Woodhead electrification was completed just one year before the modernisation plan decision was made to go AC.

 

Europe is on a steady march to AC now, with the 3KV DC line from Luxembourg to Arlon earmarked for conversion to 25KV AC (replacement insulators are already 25KV types). That will eliminate the switchable platforms in Luxembourg City where Belgian 3KV DC trains are brought in for a change of loco to a French 25KV one for onward travel to Switzerland.

 

According to a recent map I've seen on electrification in Belgium the line through Arlon to Trois Pont is 25kv ac. Yes, the insulators are 25kv along with the additional 25kv supply as per HS1. I use the adjoining motorway many times a year.

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I remember going through Manchester towards the end of steam and plat1-4 were DC. There was catenary between the 2 systems at various crossovers with the usual neutral sections in the overhead so that should any loco stray, it wouldn't bring down the OHLE. I understand the DC units had lightning conductors so that should one try to take ac, it would think "I've been hit by lightning" and shut down before too much damage was caused. I worked into Manchester Picc as  secondman at Rugby in 1974 but don't remember much about those trips as they were at night and we went into the platforms on the west side.

 

Voltage change on the GE and LTSR was effected by yellow boxes similar to AWS magnets placed outside the running rails where the change over occurred. Presumably there were magnetic switches on the trains to operate the transformer change over. I never learnt AC units so can't comment further.

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Aachen Hbf and Luxembourg station, for two.

And Basle from 15kV to 25kV ac. There is a platform with switchable overhead line and a voltage indicator for the drivers in there. The train with SNCF loco (with pans down) would be shunted into the platform by an SBB electric shunter on 15kV. The shunter would uncouple and scuttle back to the sidings, then the OHL would switch over to 25kV and an indicator would show the voltage to be at 25kV so the driver will raise the pan.

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I remember going through Manchester towards the end of steam and plat1-4 were DC. There was catenary between the 2 systems at various crossovers with the usual neutral sections in the overhead so that should any loco stray, it wouldn't bring down the OHLE. I understand the DC units had lightning conductors so that should one try to take ac, it would think "I've been hit by lightning" and shut down before too much damage was caused. I worked into Manchester Picc as  secondman at Rugby in 1974 but don't remember much about those trips as they were at night and we went into the platforms on the west side.

 

Voltage change on the GE and LTSR was effected by yellow boxes similar to AWS magnets placed outside the running rails where the change over occurred. Presumably there were magnetic switches on the trains to operate the transformer change over. I never learnt AC units so can't comment further.

 

Details of the various systems in the UK in 1962 and in particular the 6.25/25kV AC are discussed in the final report into the Glasgow Suburban transformer failures. There is also comparison data/info on the various EMUs & locomotives

 

From the railwayarchives site: http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/documents/MoT_EMUFailures1962.pdf

 

In particular, paragraph 65 on p.14:

"Automatic power control (A.P.C.)

65. As already explained the 25 kV and the 6.25 kV sections of the overhead equipment are separated

by neutral sections and the automatic changeover from one voltage to the other is initiated by permanent

magnet inductors fixed to the track.

Each motor coach carries a receiver which responds to the magnetic field of the ground magnet. On

passing over the first inductor the receiver operates a relay which opens the A.B.B.* before the pantograph

reaches the neutral section, and on passing over the second inductor (beyond the neutral section) the

receiver operates another relay which releases the lock on the circuit-breaker so that it can be closed by

the voltage selection equipment.

This equipment comprises voltage sensing apparatus on the roof which receives current directly from

the pantograph and feeds it to a group of selector relays which control the operation of the changeover

switch. A more detailed general description of this equipment as developed by A.E.I. (Manchester) for

the Glasgow units and the modifications made to it are given in paragraphs 141 to 146."

 

* A.B.B. - air-blast circuit-breaker

 

A lot of interesting technical information in the report and not just about the Glasgow units

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incidentally, just been flicking through the 1979 R.O. for something else and noticed that the GE system went over to full 25kV in January.

Also at that time, final preparations/works were ongoing in the Glasgow area to enable the abolition of 6.25kV

(EDIT: completely forgot that a lot of work was on the 'new' Argyle Line through Central Low Level, which was yet to open)

 

remembered seeing track diagrams for the Glasgow (north side) electrification on Iain Logan's 'Electric Soup' website (shows the voltage changeover locations):

 

http://homepages.enterprise.net/iainlogan/railway/gsetk.html

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Voltage change on the GE and LTSR was effected by yellow boxes similar to AWS magnets placed outside the running rails where the change over occurred. Presumably there were magnetic switches on the trains to operate the transformer change over. I never learnt AC units so can't comment further.

Automatic Power Control (APC) magnets were AWS Permanent Inductors placed on the sleeper ends at neutral sections on the 25KV lines to switch off the power control on the loco before the voltage was lost and to prevent current surge caused by hitting the live section with the controller notched up, as this would fry the innards of the loco. The second set of magnets effectively switched on the voltage detection relays to enable the controller to be notched up again. We had to be careful when we put AWS near to junctions on electrified lines. One of my mates put one right by the crossing nose at a diverging junction and the first electric train died as it went past.

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Automatic Power Control (APC) magnets were AWS Permanent Inductors placed on the sleeper ends at neutral sections on the 25KV lines to switch off the power control on the loco before the voltage was lost and to prevent current surge caused by hitting the live section with the controller notched up, as this would fry the innards of the loco. The second set of magnets effectively switched on the voltage detection relays to enable the controller to be notched up again. We had to be careful when we put AWS near to junctions on electrified lines. One of my mates put one right by the crossing nose at a diverging junction and the first electric train died as it went past.

had something similar with a nuetral section on the slow line just after Heaton Chapel station crossing train from slow to fast line due to a points failure which made the signal track approach train came out of station slowly checked at the signal runs into the nuetral section didnt have enough momentum to clear the gap result one very stuck 304 unit ! how this hadnt been picked up before 1982 was a puzzle the nuetral section was subsequently moved some months later to prevent this happening again 

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Automatic Power Control (APC) magnets were AWS Permanent Inductors placed on the sleeper ends at neutral sections on the 25KV lines to switch off the power control on the loco before the voltage was lost and to prevent current surge caused by hitting the live section with the controller notched up, as this would fry the innards of the loco. The second set of magnets effectively switched on the voltage detection relays to enable the controller to be notched up again. We had to be careful when we put AWS near to junctions on electrified lines. One of my mates put one right by the crossing nose at a diverging junction and the first electric train died as it went past.

 

The APC toggles the state of the main circuit breaker. 

 

The main reason for this was to prevent a destructive arc being drawn across the neutral section if a pan transitioned from the live to dead section under power. 

 

Traction equipped for both 6.25KV/25KV had a voltage sensing circuit which configured the transformer windings to the voltage present in the overhead line when the main circuit breaker was closed.  Unfortunately this equipment was not always reliable especially in the early days and had a tendency to misdetect 6.25KV as 25KV sometimes with catastrophic results for the transformer including some which exploded

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The APC toggles the state of the main circuit breaker. 

 

The main reason for this was to prevent a destructive arc being drawn across the neutral section if a pan transitioned from the live to dead section under power. 

 

Traction equipped for both 6.25KV/25KV had a voltage sensing circuit which configured the transformer windings to the voltage present in the overhead line when the main circuit breaker was closed.  Unfortunately this equipment was not always reliable especially in the early days and had a tendency to misdetect 6.25KV as 25KV sometimes with catastrophic results for the transformer including some which exploded

There was the occasional loss of power on 308's when in West Yorkshire when the 'wrong voltage selection' fuse ruptured for no apparent reason even though the 6.25 KV had not been used for years!

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Closer to home, I believe dual voltage Electrostars can change between AC and DC on the move and may well do so on the West London Line. I recall 313s having to stop between stations to change voltage. Eurostars used to do it too before they were rerouted to St Pancras.

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Closer to home, I believe dual voltage Electrostars can change between AC and DC on the move and may well do so on the West London Line. I recall 313s having to stop between stations to change voltage. Eurostars used to do it too before they were rerouted to St Pancras.

 

Eurostars still use 3KV DC on the approach to Brussels and on some of their occasional trips into parts of France which still use 1.5KV DC.

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Thameslink always used to change over stationary at Farringdon, though I stopped commuting a decade ago. There were sometimes failures in the changeover equipment which caused chaos in the rush hour until it was sorted out, though I don't remember any actual train failures (others may remember differently).

The first time I came across change-over on the move was on a Dutch tram system - third rail to overhead. I think it may have been Rotterdam but it was a long time ago when such things seemed miraculous.

Jonathan

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And back on topic (ish)....

 

As far as I know there was just one example of 1500v DC traffic between the Altrincham lines and Woodhead lines at Piccadilly (or London Road, as it was called when it hosted the two 1500v systems) - sort of. This was during WW2, when the prototype Class 76 (later named "Tommy" after further adventures in Holland) was tested on the Altrincham line. Photos are as rare as hens' teeth, presumably because of the elevated levels of secrecy in wartime. Good page on it here;

 

http://www.lner.info/locos/Electric/em1.php 

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