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Author Topic: Getting Electrification Right  (Read 482 times)
Trowres
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« on: October 18, 2018, 12:26:57 am »

I haven't seen this mentioned before, but this article seems well worth the time to read (including the comments)

https://www.railengineer.uk/2018/06/04/getting-electrification-right/

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At current prices (as are all prices in this article), the GWML programme was to cost £1.28 billion. It is now likely to cost £3.17 billion or £4 million per single track kilometre (stk)...

...benchmarking includes the electrification of 1,362 stk in Denmark over a twelve-year period and in Germany, the 225 stk Ulm to Lindau electrification, both of which are costing circa £1 million/stk. It would seem that these relatively low costs are the result of a steady rolling programme.

...acknowledged that the GWML electrification structures and their foundations had been over-engineered and felt that one reason for this was that contracts had encouraged a risk-averse design approach

...the Scottish government has had a consistent policy and programme of electrification since it took over the responsibility for Scotland’s railways from the DfT in 2005

...There was also a strong view of the value of a rolling electrification programme to retain knowledge and skills.

...t was clear ... that Scottish electrification generally costs less than in England. For example, the electrification element of the 2010 Airdrie to Bathgate project was well under £1.5 million/stk


...The two factors that seem to make a big difference are that Scottish electrification is a relatively small rolling programme and that Transport Scotland is a strong, informed client.


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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2018, 05:37:57 am »

That is a very interesting read indeed.   What struck me:

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Now - overlooking the use of a histogram for one country and a line for the other - this seems to show it all about the stop-go nature of electrification in the UK and the continuous program nature in Germany ...
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 05:54:00 am by grahame » Logged

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ellendune
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2018, 06:31:39 am »

But are these £ per stk figures comparable?  Continental railways have a very large structure gauge, does this reduce the cost of rebuilding structures for electrification?
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broadgage
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2018, 08:52:51 am »

Not certain that I can agree that the current GWR electrification structures are "over engineered" Having suffered regularly from the failed East coast electrification "no trains in windy weather" I consider that very substantial structures are preferable.
In the last few days we have seen a substantial failure of low quality electrification near Paddington, whilst a defective train caused this, the consequences would have been less serious with more substantial construction.

Even allowing for the substantial structures, the cost of the GWR electrification still seems very excessive.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2018, 09:03:37 am »

Very striking graph, that!
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patch38
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 09:20:04 am »

At first glance, I thought it was a picture of the Dubai skyline.
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paul7755
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2018, 10:30:42 am »

But are these £ per stk figures comparable?  Continental railways have a very large structure gauge, does this reduce the cost of rebuilding structures for electrification?
Not necessarily.  The fact that the structure gauge is generally bigger, to allow for the bigger rolling stock, doesn’t logically mean the structures originally included additional future electrification clearance.  They will still need the extra height.

Even when routes in this country have been upgraded from W6 to W12 for high containers it hasn’t automatically provided for wiring as well, because W12 is only very slightly higher than W6 - it’s more about opening out the corners. 

Paul
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sikejsudjek3
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 03:25:33 pm »

The trouble here is the stop start nature of the work. We've lost expertise during the non electrification years. Then a whole load of upgrades and repairs are added to the cost - which would have been needed to be done at some point anyway. Then we have to pay out substantial compensation to the many different privatised operators when the track is closed for works, or services are cancelled. Its a mess of a system - which is costly to maintain largely because of the fragmented structure. So it isn't just that our electrification costs a lot - there are other factors that add to the overall costs.
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Electric train
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2018, 06:46:09 pm »

There is nothing new in the concept of progressive electrification; British Railways held this view for 25kV electrification form the mid 1950's which at the time also included the expansion of the third rail system,even the diesel electric locomotives were part of this master plan.


The WCML electrification was meant to roll on to the Midland Mainline and East Coast, I saw the BR map produced in the mind 1970's in the Electrification HQ in Marylebone in 1990; it showed the GWML being completed to Bristol, Taunton and Swansea by 2000.


The show stopper has always been political decisions by HMG
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Mark Carne 26 June 2015 - "The challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming".
eightonedee
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2018, 10:05:46 pm »

The problem is not just "political" - it's more a cultural problem in the decision making levels of our society. After all, there was a sustained period of electrification under Mrs Thatcher, who was always characterised as anti-railway - although it might be because BR divested itself of Sealink, hotels etc it had money to spend. What we need is an overall recognition that steady investment in infrastructure maintenance and improvement is better than feast and famine - and that has to become ingrained at HM Treasury, so that when the latest transient occupant of no 11 Downing Street arrives, he (or she) does not regard it an an optional add on if there's money to spare (or an election to be won), and is not encouraged to do so.
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Electric train
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« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2018, 06:10:42 pm »

The problem is not just "political" - it's more a cultural problem in the decision making levels of our society. After all, there was a sustained period of electrification under Mrs Thatcher, who was always characterised as anti-railway - although it might be because BR divested itself of Sealink, hotels etc it had money to spend. What we need is an overall recognition that steady investment in infrastructure maintenance and improvement is better than feast and famine - and that has to become ingrained at HM Treasury, so that when the latest transient occupant of no 11 Downing Street arrives, he (or she) does not regard it an an optional add on if there's money to spare (or an election to be won), and is not encouraged to do so.

Its not just the railways that suffers the feast and famine,  Schools, NHS, roads, local authority services, Police ………………………..
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Mark Carne 26 June 2015 - "The challenges of delivering myriad improvement projects while still running a railway seven days a week were simply overwhelming".
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2018, 08:05:26 pm »

The problem is not just "political" - it's more a cultural problem in the decision making levels of our society. After all, there was a sustained period of electrification under Mrs Thatcher, who was always characterised as anti-railway - although it might be because BR divested itself of Sealink, hotels etc it had money to spend. What we need is an overall recognition that steady investment in infrastructure maintenance and improvement is better than feast and famine - and that has to become ingrained at HM Treasury, so that when the latest transient occupant of no 11 Downing Street arrives, he (or she) does not regard it an an optional add on if there's money to spare (or an election to be won), and is not encouraged to do so.

Its not just the railways that suffers the feast and famine,  Schools, NHS, roads, local authority services, Police ………………………..

You might think there must be a better way to run a country; I couldn't possibly comment.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2018, 04:46:42 pm »

There are actually 3 things that suffer feast and famine and are first to be axed, Maintenance, Training and Research.

It doesn't help that they all considered to be revenue  costs rather than investments so don't add to the bottom line.
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