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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 116070 times)
Dispatch Box
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« Reply #675 on: January 03, 2019, 12:09:10 pm »

Five years late?  More like two years late isn’t it?

Always thought it was about right time 2018 to complete to BPW And 2020 through to Swansea. This I was told back in 2010.
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Dispatch Box
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« Reply #676 on: January 03, 2019, 12:44:00 pm »

You'd think that stringing up knitting with 21st century technology could be a little more quickly expedited.

One would think so - but Brunel, of course, didn't have the marvels of 21st Century "management" to help him along ..........................

But he did have the navvies to help build the line, many hundreds of them, earning a penny a week or so.


Don't know if this is correct, but found out somewhere that it cost a million pounds to build, What would the bill be now, if NR relayed all the points and tracks, from Paddington to Bristol today, Lord knows.

With the amount of money spent on this Brexit thing, they could probably have afforded to have done just that, Gosh it would be lovely and smooth.


Just think, more blockades.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 12:57:59 pm by Dispatch Box » Logged
TonyK
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« Reply #677 on: January 03, 2019, 01:47:55 pm »

A million quid in 1830 is equivalent to around £110 million now, according to the Bank of England. Which might get you Filton Bank without the land cost today.
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« Reply #678 on: January 03, 2019, 03:16:19 pm »

In among the comments in response to NR's tweet about wires going live at Porkway, someone pointed out that this isn't the biggest change to the GWR since Brunel's day - that would be the change to narrow gauge in 1892...

The GWR's re-gauging seems quite impressive, until you learn that some 14,500km of railways in the former Confederate States of the USA were converted from 1524mm to 1448mm (Pennysylvania RR gauge, a bit wider than Stevenson's coal cart gauge but near enough) over a period of two days between 31 May 1886 and 1st June 1886.
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onthecushions
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« Reply #679 on: January 03, 2019, 03:41:40 pm »


https://youtu.be/N8Bf53r9ufk

20s intro so be patient.

Notice the 5+5 IEP with front and rear pans up.

OTC
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patch38
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« Reply #680 on: January 03, 2019, 04:00:33 pm »

There's speculation elsewhere that the electric string might be slightly out-of-spec (too high) on that crossing which led to the 387 issue that happened yesterday. The pans do look very extended in that video.
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Thatcham Crossing
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« Reply #681 on: January 03, 2019, 04:08:55 pm »

I was at Thatcham Station a bit earlier, while a couple of 387's came and went.

An orange-suited gent from NR was on the platfrom and paying very close attention to the pan alignment with the wires as those trains arrived and departed.

Chat elsewhere is that the problems yesterday occured in the "Midgham and Thatcham areas", where there a 3 crossings in total (including Colthrop in the YT clip, which is between the other 2).
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« Reply #682 on: January 03, 2019, 04:35:24 pm »

In among the comments in response to NR's tweet about wires going live at Porkway, someone pointed out that this isn't the biggest change to the GWR since Brunel's day - that would be the change to narrow gauge in 1892...


They did that over a weekend didn't they ?   Wink Wink
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #683 on: January 03, 2019, 04:47:19 pm »

In among the comments in response to NR's tweet about wires going live at Porkway, someone pointed out that this isn't the biggest change to the GWR since Brunel's day - that would be the change to narrow gauge in 1892...

The GWR's re-gauging seems quite impressive, until you learn that some 14,500km of railways in the former Confederate States of the USA were converted from 1524mm to 1448mm (Pennysylvania RR gauge, a bit wider than Stevenson's coal cart gauge but near enough) over a period of two days between 31 May 1886 and 1st June 1886.
Perhaps not comparing like with like though. Reference was made earlier to the 'advances' of management since Brunel's day; presumably both Brunel's and the Confederate re-gauging time is just labour time, not including any planning time. In addition, there was presumably an abundant labour force in the former Confederate States that barely needed to be paid at all.
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« Reply #684 on: January 03, 2019, 06:50:29 pm »

On BBC "Points West" tonight they ran a story about electric trains now being able to run from London to Bristol (well, Parkway anyway - near enough I suppose !). Then they had a Party Pooper on who said it was five years late. Somebody please remind me how long it took Brunel to build the actual railway in the first place ...................................

Five and a half years for a whole new railway from London to Bristol following the act of Parliament in 1835. Built with Georgian 'technology'.

You'd think that stringing up knitting with 21st century technology could be a little more quickly expedited.

Of course far easier to build a railway from scratch where you don't have to provide a train service to passengers, perhaps NR should have shut the GWML down for 3 years done all the major civils, re-signalled, electrified, new track etc ………………. I'm sure the travelling public would not have minded in the least
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« Reply #685 on: January 03, 2019, 10:10:52 pm »

On BBC "Points West" tonight they ran a story about electric trains now being able to run from London to Bristol (well, Parkway anyway - near enough I suppose !). Then they had a Party Pooper on who said it was five years late. Somebody please remind me how long it took Brunel to build the actual railway in the first place ...................................

Five and a half years for a whole new railway from London to Bristol following the act of Parliament in 1835. Built with Georgian 'technology'.

You'd think that stringing up knitting with 21st century technology could be a little more quickly expedited.

Of course far easier to build a railway from scratch where you don't have to provide a train service to passengers, perhaps NR should have shut the GWML down for 3 years done all the major civils, re-signalled, electrified, new track etc ……………….

But how late would they still have been Huh   Most of the delays appear not to have been caused by having to keep a service running whilst carrying up the upgrade, but by good old fashioned incompetence by all involved.
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ellendune
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« Reply #686 on: January 03, 2019, 10:28:02 pm »

Of course far easier to build a railway from scratch where you don't have to provide a train service to passengers, perhaps NR should have shut the GWML down for 3 years done all the major civils, re-signalled, electrified, new track etc ……………….

But how late would they still have been Huh   Most of the delays appear not to have been caused by having to keep a service running whilst carrying up the upgrade, but by good old fashioned incompetence by all involved.

You talk as if competence was unrelated to the difficulty of the task.

Not only did Brunel not have to contend with keeping traffic running, he did not have to alter existing bridges or worry about clearances for 50kV power lines, and even if he had none of them would have been listed. He did not have much to do much about signalling. He did not risk digging through unmarked cables - because there weren't any.  He certainly did not have to immunise the signalling against interference from electric traction.  Also in his time it was quite acceptable for a number of his workers to die in accidents during the work.

Not only that but IIRC he went well over budget. 

In short Brunel was highly competent for his task in his time, I am not sure anyone could judge what he would have made of the present task. 
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TonyK
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« Reply #687 on: January 03, 2019, 10:59:13 pm »

But how late would they still have been Huh   Most of the delays appear not to have been caused by having to keep a service running whilst carrying up the upgrade, but by good old fashioned incompetence by all involved.

That could be the case, but first narrow down who has been incompetent here. If I have read things rightly, one problem with the work has been not knowing the true nature of what was on the railway. Over the years that have passed since the job should have been done - about 3 decades by my reckoning - a lot has happened to the railway, with tracks replaced, removed, remodelled and slewed, cables for signalling, telephones, internet and other things laid and buried alongside them, and less than comprehensive records kept of what was where. Someone must have known that there was a strong likelihood of what Donald Rumsfeld called "known unknowns" lurking, ready to show themselves only when work commences?

Which begs another question. Had someone gone to DfT and said "We've done the best job of surveying the route that we can without digging holes every few metres, but we reckon there will be big problems when we start the actual work, that could seriously inflate the cost", what would the response be? Probably to put the whole thing on hold yet again until at least the next election.  Better maybe to keep schtum in the hope that it won't be as bad as you expect, send lots of drawings of bridges and gantries, then filter the bad news slowly, after the work has gained too much momentum to stop easily. The intercity routes will all be electrified one day, and the longer it is stopped, started, stopped, started, the harder and more expensive the work will end up.

If it did happen this way, I hope whoever is responsible for putting a blind eye to the telescope gets a medal.

Edit: And I agree with ellendunne's view, posted while I was typing / brewing tea / etc.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #688 on: January 04, 2019, 10:23:16 am »

Trouble with the Western area is it was BR WR policy (1950-1970) to bury S&T cables, not have them in troughs like all other regions..... Roll Eyes  However, fairly good records of what was where were kept.  Trouble was at privatisation Railtrack wasn't interested in saving any of it, and allowed it to be kept by the privatised infrastructure companies that it employed.  When these changed hands it wasn't RT policy to take back control of the records so a lot of them 'went in the bin'..... Tongue

Edit to add: How do I know that?  Well I have a large number of them here in my garage at home......
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TonyK
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« Reply #689 on: January 04, 2019, 10:44:25 am »

Thanks, S&T, that rather confirms how I read the situation, although it seems I was 30 years out as to when it all started to go less than perfect. So it is not so much incompetence by those working to string the wires up as historic failures in record keeping. I hope that, with the aid of computers, the most detailed of records have been made of works done since the electrification work began. Maybe Filton Bank should have each individual piece of ballast numbered and logged by GPS co-ordinates - probably not, but as the railway there has been virtually rebuilt, I would expect that the course of every cable beside it has been charted.
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