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Wrong stick workings - Stranded Electric Services


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Having seem a very similar thread related to the Underground on the District Dave Forum I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone had details or photos of wrong stick workings where electric traction was routed the wrong way at a junction and the train got stranded

 

Here is an example - a class 313 took a wrong signal at Gunnersbury onto the District Line and ended up by the bridge near Chiswick Park.

 

313 021 Turnham Green: 25 Sept 1991.

 

Class 313 at Turnham Green on the District Line

 

 

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On 4-rail LU lines the running rails are insulated from Earth since current is returned via the central conductor rail. When a 3-rail EMU tries to run over such lines the traction current therefore has nowhere to go to complete its circuit and the class 313 would therefore have stalled.

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On parts of LU where a wrong stick would be dangerous, there are protection systems. These may be height related - breaking a mercury filled tube was one such system, or needing to prove a 4th rail connection before the road could be set.

 

These days such incidents are quite rare. LU occasionally routes its own stock the wrong way, but the seperation from mainline stuff is better controlled.

 

I know there have been a few incidents on the ECML where a wrong road is accepted and trains have run out of OHLE. Junction stations like Grantham and Peterborough being a favourite, as well as the junction to Stamford.

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On 4-rail LU lines the running rails are insulated from Earth since current is returned via the central conductor rail. When a 3-rail EMU tries to run over such lines the traction current therefore has nowhere to go to complete its circuit and the class 313 would therefore have stalled.

 

There are exceptions to running rails are insulated from Earth this is where LU and National Rail share the same tracks - Gunnersbury - Riichmond. Kilburn High Road (Queens Park - Kilburn High Road - for engineering/emergency workings only) and in the future Watford High Street Jct. - Watford Jct. Station, when the Croxley Link is completed.

 

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This used to be a far too common occurrence at Reading Spur Jcn. Trains from the Wokingham direction would come blasting round the corner invariably expecting the signal to clear for them and obviously to clear towards the 3rd rail electrified route only to find it clear with the JI towards the 'new' connection to the WR. Too fast to stop in time and over the junction they would go - into 'dead' territory until a loco could be summoned to get them back onto the juice rail.

 

Another problem is a Driver confusing the sort of electrification system he thinks he is working over with a dual or multi-voltage train. Several Eurostars have been involved in such incidents over the years and I think Sandling footbridge might still bear the scars of its encounter with an errant pantograph while the Westway bridge on the West London Line I think still has the marks where it was hit by the leading pan of an ecs which left North Pole depot drawing the wrong kind of power.

 

SNCF were quite brutal in their dealings with this kind of thing because 3rd rail shoes one Eurostars were out-of-gauge in France - thus at one time a concrete block appeared at the boundary of SNCF territory in order to deal with any errant shoes which had failed to raise properly and not been detected by the train's systems.

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At Queens Park on the Up DC Line there is an electrically isolated section on the centre rail which detects that an LUL return shoe is present before clearing the signal to the Bakerloo. I think that a full size overground train is too high for the shed, and the back coach would still be motoring when the front hit the roof.

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At Queens Park on the Up DC Line there is an electrically isolated section on the centre rail which detects that an LUL return shoe is present before clearing the signal to the Bakerloo. I think that a full size overground train is too high for the shed, and the back coach would still be motoring when the front hit the roof.

 

I think this system is used at a number of locations on the LT Underground system.

 

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Sarf Croydon, prior to the East Grinstead electrification, was certainly the scene of an occasional wrong pull which the driver failed to notice in time, typically off the RVL line. As the line round the corner towards Sanderstead was distinctly uphill, the trains invariably failed to make Selsdon Junction, only a few hundred yards away, where they could have found a bit more juice-rail into Sanderstead platform!

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There are exceptions to running rails are insulated from Earth this is where LU and National Rail share the same tracks - Gunnersbury - Riichmond. Kilburn High Road (Queens Park - Kilburn High Road - for engineering/emergency workings only) and in the future Watford High Street Jct. - Watford Jct. Station, when the Croxley Link is completed.

 

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Plus Wimbledon to East Putney.
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a few months back i was sat on tyseley waiting for my units to be fuelled and there were a couple of old boy ex saltney drivers sat in the mess room, now i enjoy listening to old hands talking about old BR but these 2 in particular i could sit and listen to them all day, the story they recounted on the day was fantastic, imagine listening to it being recalled in broad brummie accents....

 

"ar, d'yaw remember the day we was sat in the mess room in saltney and that AC rolled past the window?"

 

"yeah an 87 weren't it?"

 

"ai 'eadin' off t'wards derby"

 

"ai, (such and such) shunter were leanin' art o back cab screamin' IM GONNA DIE"

 

"yeah the regenirative breaks darn't work when the loco ain't under the wires so it cant stop"

 

"ai it 'ventually stopped just by the bank sidin', they sent out a type 2 to pull it back under the wires"

 

"ai, i 'member we just looked at each and started laughing as it rolled by"

 

some of their other stories are not printable!!

 

 

 

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There are exceptions to running rails are insulated from Earth this is where LU and National Rail share the same tracks - Gunnersbury - Riichmond. Kilburn High Road (Queens Park - Kilburn High Road - for engineering/emergency workings only) and in the future Watford High Street Jct. - Watford Jct. Station, when the Croxley Link is completed.

 

XF

 

I believe the London Underground's fourth rail system insulated from the running rails was to avoid stray ground currents- which from traction power levels would be quite large- from causing corrosion and other problems with the tube tunnels and other metal pipes in the vicinity. Presumably the sub-surface lines could have been third rail as in most other countries' metros but London's deep tubes running in what are effectively large (but not that large) steel pipes are rather unusual.

 

There was a rural tramway from Brest to Le Conquet near the coast in Brittany that had double overhead wire electrification (like a trolley bus) This looked like it was three phase AC as on the La Rhune rack line but it was DC and powered that way because the transatlantic telegraph/telephone cables ran near its route and would gave been badly affected by any stray ground currents. You can just see the two wires in this postcard view. I've no idea how much hassle the two separate trolley poles created for its crews as the wires don't seem to be a constant distance apart as with trolley bus wires.

 

post-6882-0-70246500-1333896362.jpg

 

The line was built in 1903 and replaced by buses in 1932. One of its purposes was apparently to enable troops to be rushed to defend the the coast in the event of a British invasion !! (So much for the Entente Cordiale)

Two wire electrification was also used for tramways around Grenoble to allow a 1200V DC system to be used with the well separated wires at +600V and -600V. I assume this was to provide sufficient power for working in a mountainous area.

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another one i know of happened (iirc) just outside slade lane jn, a 323 unit was struggling after leaving levenshume during leaf fall and came to a stop in the neutral section on the slow, unable to contact the driver the signalman then cautioned a train on the fast and asked the driver to see what the problem was.....

 

"alright drive' the signaller wants to know what the problem is?"

 

"same as you now pal!"

 

the 2nd train was also electric hauled!!

 

whoops

 

 

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Parts of the insulator from the pantograph that hit Sandling footbridge are preserved in a perspex case in the booking office there. In the opposite direction, an unretracted 3rd rail shoe took out a track-circuit termination box just outside the UK Portal, providing me with endless hours of entertainment. Somehow, the shoes had missed the concrete block on the Cess side on its way from Dolland's Moor.

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a few months back i was sat on tyseley waiting for my units to be fuelled and there were a couple of old boy ex saltney drivers sat in the mess room, now i enjoy listening to old hands talking about old BR but these 2 in particular i could sit and listen to them all day, the story they recounted on the day was fantastic, imagine listening to it being recalled in broad brummie accents....

 

"ar, d'yaw remember the day we was sat in the mess room in saltney and that AC rolled past the window?"

 

"yeah an 87 weren't it?"

 

"ai 'eadin' off t'wards derby"

 

"ai, (such and such) shunter were leanin' art o back cab screamin' IM GONNA DIE"

 

"yeah the regenirative breaks darn't work when the loco ain't under the wires so it cant stop"

 

"ai it 'ventually stopped just by the bank sidin', they sent out a type 2 to pull it back under the wires"

 

"ai, i 'member we just looked at each and started laughing as it rolled by"

 

some of their other stories are not printable!!

ow did 'e get thro' the "Blue 'Ole" without rippin' the pan off?

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I remember being at Bescot in the mid 1990's and a Class 86 on an ECS working to Wolverhampton came to a halt at the station. The train was signalled wrongly signalled for the road to Walsall the drive spoke to the signalman who advised the driver to proceed to Walsall and run around the train and then proceed back to Wolverhampton via the north curve of the triangle at Bescot. This advice was given to clear the line due to the time it would take to reset the route for the train to proceed directly to Wolverhampton. The driver refused and said he would wait for the route to be reset he knew his stuff unlike the signalman as the north side of the triangle was not (maybe still not) electrified. We had a long chat with the driver who was a bit fed up with the inexperienced signalman,

 

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It is certain 313's cannot take power on then district? 313021 has traveled over 400m from the junction. If it had lost power the I would have thought the driver would have realised before then and breaked immediately.

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I believe the London Underground's fourth rail system insulated from the running rails was to avoid stray ground currents- which from traction power levels would be quite large- from causing corrosion and other problems with the tube tunnels and other metal pipes in the vicinity.

Spot on. The original tube tunnels were lined with steel segments simply because concrete technology back in the day did not exist for such a task. Since the construction of the Victoria Line concrete segments have been used and most sub-surface tunnels are brick-lined having been built in the 1860s - 1880s. Stray currents were thought to pose a risk to metal service pipes buried beneath the streets such as water and gas supplies and to present a risk of corrosion of the tunnel segments themselves through electrolysis.

 

In the interests of safety and uniformity the London underground lines were electrified on the same system throughout with insulated running rails and current return via the centre fourth rail.

 

A class 313 travelling at perhaps 30mph might reasonably take 400 metres to stop even after it lost power. The entire unit would have had to leave third-rail territory (so that the rear shoes and wheels were no longer forming the electrical circuit) which accounts for around 60 - 70 metres, during which time the driver - we might expect - would have acted to stop the train and reset their anal sphincter. With only the friction of disc braking available "off juice" it is perfectly possible that the train moved forward another 200 metres or so before coming to rest.

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I remember being at Bescot in the mid 1990's and a Class 86 on an ECS working to Wolverhampton came to a halt at the station. The train was signalled wrongly signalled for the road to Walsall the drive spoke to the signalman who advised the driver to proceed to Walsall and run around the train and then proceed back to Wolverhampton via the north curve of the triangle at Bescot. This advice was given to clear the line due to the time it would take to reset the route for the train to proceed directly to Wolverhampton. The driver refused and said he would wait for the route to be reset he knew his stuff unlike the signalman as the north side of the triangle was not (maybe still not) electrified. We had a long chat with the driver who was a bit fed up with the inexperienced signalman,

 

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The triangle has always been electrified all round. From Pleck to Walsall only the lines on the east side of the 4 track section were wired.

 

The Approach Locking timer on that signal was only 2 minutes so it wouldn't have been any benefit not to wait for it to release. The driver probably didn't want to get the set the wrong way round. Also I think a lot of ECS workings were done under DOO(F) rules in those days so that may have complicated matters as far as changing ends is concerned, even with a DVT.

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I was 'lucky' enough to be on board a Brisbane EMU when it was switched across an unwired crossover (OK I know this isn't UK, but Brisbane was electrified using the BR mark 3B ohle system.

 

At that time there were only four EMUs in service on stage one of the electrification. To the west of Roma Street (a major city terminal) all but one crossover was wired withe the exception being for westbound trains only. Past that point, the wires continued along the four track section towards Milton station, with a double track crossover fully wired just before the station, after which only the slow lines were wired.

 

For daytime services, the EMUs were used as single three-car units but for peak hours they were combined to form two six car trains. I caught the westbound train at Brisbane Central. It stopped at Roma Street and then was routed from the fast lines to the slow lines using that one and only unwired crossing. There were popping noises as the wires of both slow lines were pulled down and the air con units kicked in and out while the stubs of the pantographs occasionally contacted a wire. We coasted for over a kilometer until we stopped in Milton station platforms. A minute later, the other peak hour EMU formation rolled into Milton heading eastbound.

 

I was sitting immediately behind the cab in the first unit and could hear a lot of yelling going on over the radio! Both suburban lines were out of action and blocked, with the entire Queensland Railways EMU fleet stranded on the wrong side for maintenance or even rescue! Fortunately, all the diesel hauled services were able to use the two main lines (fast lines) to continue a service of sorts.

 

After stage two of the electrification works were put in that crossover remained unwired for some time until the South Brisbane electrification was linked in. I was told that similar incidents did occur after my experience and that at least one signalman was suspended.

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With only the friction of disc braking available "off juice" it is perfectly possible that the train moved forward another 200 metres or so before coming to rest.

To be clear, the standards require the train to be able to meet the required braking distances on disc brakes alone, as all forms of dynamic braking are considered not to be failsafe (consider the situation where loss of traction power prevented trains stopping at signals). Possibly the driver was a bit confused or just thinking this was a momentary power loss and he would coast to somewhere safer to stop if the power hadn't come back in the meantime.

 

The triangle has always been electrified all round. From Pleck to Walsall only the lines on the east side of the 4 track section were wired.

 

The Approach Locking timer on that signal was only 2 minutes so it wouldn't have been any benefit not to wait for it to release. The driver probably didn't want to get the set the wrong way round. Also I think a lot of ECS workings were done under DOO(F) rules in those days so that may have complicated matters as far as changing ends is concerned, even with a DVT.

 

Possibly they would have needed to use the non-electrified tracks to reverse or run round? Certainly if a run-round was needed on the main running lines, it would cause much more disruption than waiting for the timer!

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To be clear, the standards require the train to be able to meet the required braking distances on disc brakes alone, as all forms of dynamic braking are considered not to be failsafe (consider the situation where loss of traction power prevented trains stopping at signals). Possibly the driver was a bit confused or just thinking this was a momentary power loss and he would coast to somewhere safer to stop if the power hadn't come back in the meantime.

We cannot second-guess what might have gone through the driver's mind. However it might be fair comment to suggest that a fully alert driver would have realised the wrong road was set and queried it if the opportunity were available. Approaching a junction signal on a medium to low speed line such as this and sighting it showing an unexpected aspect / route there is potentially time to make an emergency stop before the route is irretrievably taken. This might indeed have occurred and the train has still run far enough onto LU metals to require the assistance of something coupled at the rear.

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Parts of the insulator from the pantograph that hit Sandling footbridge are preserved in a perspex case in the booking office there. In the opposite direction, an unretracted 3rd rail shoe took out a track-circuit termination box just outside the UK Portal, providing me with endless hours of entertainment. Somehow, the shoes had missed the concrete block on the Cess side on its way from Dolland's Moor.

 

Oh yes - in a former existance I've been on a number of too-early panto incidents at Sandling & Saltwood.....even got as far as pricing up the installation of a dummy wire from the London side of the OB at Sandling - proved to be too expensive for EPS at the time.

 

It always amazed me that a £2 million train relied upon the actions of the driver to raise the panto going into the AC area...but then how else would it have been done (easily) ?

 

There used to be a 500yd length of conductor rail on the Down WOE line at Worting Jn - cut back to a mere 5 chains in recent years - to deal with the results of a wrong signalled EMU taking the route to Exeter. It hasn't happened in my memory but I look to the older ex-SR Operations members on here to fill in the blanks................

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The triangle has always been electrified all round. From Pleck to Walsall only the lines on the east side of the 4 track section were wired.

 

The Approach Locking timer on that signal was only 2 minutes so it wouldn't have been any benefit not to wait for it to release. The driver probably didn't want to get the set the wrong way round. Also I think a lot of ECS workings were done under DOO(F) rules in those days so that may have complicated matters as far as changing ends is concerned, even with a DVT.

 

I seem to remember that we looked at triangle (just north of Bescot Station)and there was no catanary however looking at Google Maps today it appears that it no longer exists!

 

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