Jump to content

96701

Midland Main Line Electrification

Recommended Posts

My project is coming along nicely thank you.

dont think that everyone involved in engineering is failing 

Edited by ess1uk
  • Like 4
  • Friendly/supportive 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, lmsforever said:

Reading the excellent posts in this thread  you realise that the UK is now completely incapable of completing ,designing, new projects for rail .Every part of projects seem to be suffering ,new rolling stock is built with problems that cannot be rectified, the ole is not able to be built easily and who suffers the passenger with no hope of the promised service ie Gospel Oak line.Why is this happening is it DAFTS fault is it the lack of new engineers emerging from education who knows or is it simply that we have lost our way .

I don't think you can blame the engineers:

  • Great Western mainline - pretty sturdy structures that work, if they're not pretty don't blame the engineer blame the specification that led to the design.
  • IEP - civil service led procurement that altered the specification as it became apparent the wires wouldn't keep pace with the trains
  • CrossRail - someone managed to thread several Tunnel Boring Machines under the streets of London missing foundations, underground infrastructure with no loss of buildings, trains can run the length of the railway albeit some of it only under test conditions currently.

I imagine a lot of the issue come from cost cutting exercises, how can we do this cheaper, quicker with less resource that results in some nice ideas that come apart in delivery - the wiring train for GWML not being able to work in the conditions it had to contend with.  Maybe if it had been done the traditional way the cost overrun may not have occurred and the rest of the UK's electrification scheme couldn't have been reneged on by the government.

 

It doesn't help of course, that a lot of the work has to be completed in narrowing windows of opportunity as the railway we have has probably never been busier with lots of competing needs to be planned around.

  • Like 2
  • Agree 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree that a lot of the problems is to do with what has been specified and not enough time taken to plan and use resources needed properly. I was at Blackpool this week, and the overheads used were the massive bomb proof lattice girders that now appear to be the favourite thing for OHLE. It raised the question in my mind of why? It is the slow speed approach to a terminal station, speeds are never going to be high, and the track work will reduce after the station, so there will be plenty of run off/OHLE termination points shortly after. So why is not a simplier system used, like the tramway single contact wires, with lighter/cheaper supports, in the station? Standardisation is a good thing, but as every station is a different layout, there cannot be much standard about the overheads used.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, cheesysmith said:

I have to agree that a lot of the problems is to do with what has been specified and not enough time taken to plan and use resources needed properly. I was at Blackpool this week, and the overheads used were the massive bomb proof lattice girders that now appear to be the favourite thing for OHLE. It raised the question in my mind of why? It is the slow speed approach to a terminal station, speeds are never going to be high, and the track work will reduce after the station, so there will be plenty of run off/OHLE termination points shortly after. So why is not a simplier system used, like the tramway single contact wires, with lighter/cheaper supports, in the station? Standardisation is a good thing, but as every station is a different layout, there cannot be much standard about the overheads used.

 

The structures span up to six tracks as well as platforms. That is a very long span and anything less would bend in the middle. Not only that, they are to 30 year old designs or older, so have been a "favourite" for a very long time. Basically Mk3 structures with Series 2 equipment attached to them. Anything electrified in the last  30 years apart from GWML uses the same over so many tracks.

Edited by Titan
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, cheesysmith said:

I have to agree that a lot of the problems is to do with what has been specified and not enough time taken to plan and use resources needed properly. I was at Blackpool this week, and the overheads used were the massive bomb proof lattice girders that now appear to be the favourite thing for OHLE. It raised the question in my mind of why? It is the slow speed approach to a terminal station, speeds are never going to be high, and the track work will reduce after the station, so there will be plenty of run off/OHLE termination points shortly after. So why is not a simplier system used, like the tramway single contact wires, with lighter/cheaper supports, in the station? Standardisation is a good thing, but as every station is a different layout, there cannot be much standard about the overheads used.

Single contact wires, with no catenary wire, are used in a number of stations (e.g Paddington) so it would appear they are quite suitable for low speeds even where more recent pantograph upift forces are around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, woodenhead said:

I don't think you can blame the engineers:

  • Great Western mainline - pretty sturdy structures that work, if they're not pretty don't blame the engineer blame the specification that led to the design.

 

And who do you suppose drafted the specifications? My expectation would be that it was one or more of the firms of engineering consultants, working under contract to the DfT, and as consultants do not take risks for which they might later be held accountable they will err to the side of conservatism. Then add to that some pretty clumsy and heavy detailing on the actual structures that can only be down to engineers, who will again have been working under contract to the project, and whose designs will have been reviewed by project engineers whose task is only to confirm that they comply with the contract requirements, not to judge whether or not they have been over designed.

 

Jim

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, The Stationmaster said:

Single contact wires, with no catenary wire, are used in a number of stations (e.g Paddington) so it would appear they are quite suitable for low speeds even where more recent pantograph upift forces are around.

Single contact wire with fixed terminations (otherwise known as trolley wire construction) is used only on a few tracks within Paddington station, and I would be pretty certain there are those in NR who would fight shy of using that form of construction in a station after the incident where a single contact wire in St Pancras parted due to local heating after a fault occurred on a Eurostar set, resulting in a live contact wire getting loose at platform level.

However, in complex and low speed areas such as stations, there is something to be said for adopting fixed termination wiring, even with catenary, as it eliminates the problems of differential wire movement and, sometimes, sag where wire runs intersect.

 

Jim

  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The OHLE being installed now is extremely sturdy, seems to be a response to the cheap wiring done on the ECML which is known to suffer outside optimal conditions.

 

New structures need to last and withstand expected changes in climate, traffic volume and traffic speed.

 

They might not be pretty, but if the don't come down and last a few decades then it's money well spent.

 

People expect a reliable service these days, there are costs if things fail, it's not like the old days of poor BR when Serpell was a possibility.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The underlying problems with the ECML wiring, as I understand it, are that the span lengths are longer than usual, which saves money on the cost of foundations and poles, but increases the risks of blow-off in high winds, and the use of span wire construction, which leads to both undesirable interactions between the up and down lines and greater damage in the event of a dewirement. Apart from that, the ECML has been around for several decades now, and parts of the WCML are now past their half-century.

 

The structures for the GWML are, plain and simple, over-engineered to the point where doing so brings no benefit, only greater cost.

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could the Midland Mainline train order conceivably be the same as the TPE Mark 5 sets, with a Driving Trailer at the London end and a electro-diesel bi-mode loco at the north? Rather than an over-complex bi-mode multi-unit? It looks to me as though the TPE sets are state of the art and the Hitachi bi-modes, however badged as GWR or Azuma, fall some way short of that.

 

It also now appears that Abellio were the only bidder who qualified for the EM franchise. Being Dutch they should understand that a fully electrified railway is just a sensible thing to do.

 

Dava

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Dava said:

Could the Midland Mainline train order conceivably be the same as the TPE Mark 5 sets, with a Driving Trailer at the London end and a electro-diesel bi-mode loco at the north?

 

Only if such a combination:-

 

(i) can achieve 125mph under diesel operation (for the bits north of Kettering which are not going to get wires anytime soon).

 

and

 

(ii) As long as the loco does not restrict the space available for passengers (note that 'more seats' is a franchise requirement for the heaviest flows into / out of London)  due to having all the traction power in one big lump rather than distributed underneath the train as per the 800s

 

Regardless of Abellio being Dutch, TOCs in this country are NOT responsible for infrastructure. Abellio can say what they want but until the DfT are willing to cough up the cash (note NR has been explicitly been told to focus on maintenance and renewal for the next Control Period) then nothing will happen.

Edited by phil-b259
  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Only if such a combination:-

 

(i) can achieve 125mph under diesel operation (for the bits north of Kettering which are not going to get wires anytime soon).

 

and

 

(ii) As long as the loco does not restrict the space available for passengers (note that 'more seats' is a franchise requirement for the heaviest flows into / out of London)  due to having all the traction power in one big lump rather than distributed underneath the train as per the 800s

 

Regardless of Abellio being Dutch, TOCs in this country are NOT responsible for infrastructure. Abellio can say what they want but until the DfT are willing to cough up the cash (note NR has been explicitly been told to focus on maintenance and renewal for the next Control Period) then nothing will happen.

And (iii) can match or at least approach Meridian levels of acceleration.  The Meridian has half its weight on motored axles, Hitachi units and no doubt the putative Bombardier unit would be similar. 

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, phil-b259 said:

 

Only if such a combination:-

 

(i) can achieve 125mph under diesel operation (for the bits north of Kettering which are not going to get wires anytime soon).

 

and

 

(ii) As long as the loco does not restrict the space available for passengers (note that 'more seats' is a franchise requirement for the heaviest flows into / out of London)  due to having all the traction power in one big lump rather than distributed underneath the train as per the 800s

 

 

1 loco would be 1 less than a HST, but,

If a HST has 2 locos to get to 125 then would 1 loco be able to?

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ess1uk said:

1 loco would be 1 less than a HST, but,

If a HST has 2 locos to get to 125 then would 1 loco be able to?

....without exceeding the track force limits (which were referenced to those exerted by a Class 55 at 100mph). 

 

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be a remarkable loco that could achieve the performance specified above, a railway unicorn. The only way to do it with locos would be to switch between electric and diesel where the wires end, and that would only make sense if they were extended to Leicester (at least). DafT still think bi-modes are the answer to everything, so that's what we will end up with. And until the knitting south of Bedford is upgraded for 125mph they will be running on diesel all the way.

  • Agree 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This weekend has brought some entertainment with no EMT trains south of Kettering as happened over Christmas. Trains from the North are reversing at Kettering and terminating at Corby for replacement coaches to Bedford, Kettering, having more platforms to regulate the traffic into the single platform at Corby, is a useful buffer but can’t accommodate coaches in the numbers required, hence the trek eight miles North for passengers heading South.

  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where is the line shut?

is it Weetabix?

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wondered if it was that or the bridge at Burton Latimer 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 13/04/2019 at 01:28, jim.snowdon said:

The structures for the GWML are, plain and simple, over-engineered to the point where doing so brings no benefit, only greater cost.

 

Jim

They're over specified, which isn't quite the same.

 

Though the result either way is that they're too expensive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But the cheap ECML broke again today

 

duplicated post

please delete 

Edited by ess1uk
Duplicate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Zomboid said:

They're over specified, which isn't quite the same.

 

Though the result either way is that they're too expensive. 

Do we actually know if they are too expensive?   The method of mopunting them using piles might or might be cheaper overall than using concreted foundations - it was expected to be cheaper but very poor planning led to problems so it probably cost more.  The masts no doubt are more expensive because they contain more steel than older designs.  Similarly the booms are probablt more expensive because, again they contain more steel.

 

But then we come to bits of the job which are much simpler and involve fewer components than just about all previous post-war British catenary.  Attaching the register arms etc  the booms involves a piece of stock size square tube and a few small straps plus bolts, a single register arm carries both the contact wire and the catenary wire on the vast majority of masts and booms.  Thus if you look at single line masts they involve fewer components and much less construction and assembly work than say, the single line masts on any of the 1960s BR schemes.

 

The massive overruns on cost (assuming it was correctly estimated in the first place)  I suspect owe far less to the components used than they do to abysmal planning and atrocious project management made even worse by a known failure to manage contracts and contractors in a cost effective way.  Then chuck in the amount of redundant material simply left at the lineside.  Taking over a year to electrify 15 route miles of quadruple track railway which was mainly plain line and requiring very little in the way of bridgeworks must be some sort of record, let alone the subsequent several months adding all the ancillary bits necessary to complete it to the fully equipped standard including such 'minor'(!!) things as earthing points.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/04/2019 at 18:28, jim.snowdon said:

The underlying problems with the ECML wiring, as I understand it, are that the span lengths are longer than usual, which saves money on the cost of foundations and poles, but increases the risks of blow-off in high winds, and the use of span wire construction, which leads to both undesirable interactions between the up and down lines and greater damage in the event of a dewirement. Apart from that, the ECML has been around for several decades now, and parts of the WCML are now past their half-century.

 

The structures for the GWML are, plain and simple, over-engineered to the point where doing so brings no benefit, only greater cost.

 

Jim

 

Correct about the ECML Jim. I would find it informative to learn the gross total of remediation that has proven necessary to counter the performance effects of that original design. I do know that in my fairly brief tenure at York in the late 90's, we spent, and planned to spend, around £400m on increased frequencies of masts and improved tensioning in certain key areas. This was on top of paying 50% of the costs to install additional monitoring equipment on the pantos of Class 91's and a number of GN EMU's, to better understand what the problems were. I understand even more has been spent since my time, on similar works. It begins to make the oft-quoted, low cost per mile of the original scheme a bit of a myth.

 

Despite all the project cost and time problems of the GWIP scheme, I would guess the real value will be determined over time against performance effects and losses. One de-wirement, even in my day, could cost RT/NR up to £3m in Schedule 8 payments (one incident near Huntingdon cost us over £6 million in S8, remedial works, emergency S4 costs and ORR penalty eventually). It does not take many of those to alter the equation, and there have certainly been several of that magnitude since. That will make a useful comparison eventually, if any further electrification schemes are ever approved.

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, The Stationmaster said:

Do we actually know if they are too expensive?   The method of mopunting them using piles might or might be cheaper overall than using concreted foundations - it was expected to be cheaper but very poor planning led to problems so it probably cost more.  The masts no doubt are more expensive because they contain more steel than older designs.  Similarly the booms are probablt more expensive because, again they contain more steel.

 

But then we come to bits of the job which are much simpler and involve fewer components than just about all previous post-war British catenary.  Attaching the register arms etc  the booms involves a piece of stock size square tube and a few small straps plus bolts, a single register arm carries both the contact wire and the catenary wire on the vast majority of masts and booms.  Thus if you look at single line masts they involve fewer components and much less construction and assembly work than say, the single line masts on any of the 1960s BR schemes.

 

The massive overruns on cost (assuming it was correctly estimated in the first place)  I suspect owe far less to the components used than they do to abysmal planning and atrocious project management made even worse by a known failure to manage contracts and contractors in a cost effective way.  Then chuck in the amount of redundant material simply left at the lineside.  Taking over a year to electrify 15 route miles of quadruple track railway which was mainly plain line and requiring very little in the way of bridgeworks must be some sort of record, let alone the subsequent several months adding all the ancillary bits necessary to complete it to the fully equipped standard including such 'minor'(!!) things as earthing points.

The steelwork is probably a minor part of the cost, these kind of things the money usually goes into the stuff you don't see, such as compensating GWR for the disruption, and paying for staff and markups. But I imagine the heavyweight steel would have had a more limited range of plant which could handle it,  which won't have helped with efficient delivery. 

 

The real point is the GWML has poisoned the well with its cost, and hopefully MML and others (no idea how EGIP, NWEP or the other minor schemes like Bromsgrove  and Walsall - Rugeley have fared in comparison, but they haven't been without their own issues) can go some way to undoing the damage, or we'll be back here again in another 25 years having forgotten all the lessons. 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.