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Author Topic: Electrification - even of thin long lines  (Read 2133 times)
grahame
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« on: February 08, 2020, 06:12:13 pm »

Electric trains to Newquay ... and to Whitehaven, Whitby and Wick??   Pie in the sky?   But then - why not, made with economic light weight structures that don't cost an arm and a leg.    Perhaps if / as the UK has a new ability so simplify things and can amend standards to be appropriate for us, we might see something like this between Arrochar and Ardlui in years to come:



I fell asleep midmorning with youtube videos playing in the background ... awoke to a cabride which included the above.    Full video ((here)).   Perhaps it might even be possible within the current rules, mind ... for this is a line to Garmisch Partenkirchen.   So what have we been waiting for??
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 06:33:40 pm by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2020, 07:16:01 pm »

It would appear to be relatively easy to install such a system on the Tarka Line for example (no tunnels or salt water to worry about.

Install a new passing loop at Umberleigh and you could have half-hourly peak time services
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TonyK
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2020, 08:15:03 pm »

It would appear to be relatively easy to install such a system on the Tarka Line for example (no tunnels or salt water to worry about.

Install a new passing loop at Umberleigh and you could have half-hourly peak time services

Do I discern a vested interest?  Grin
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2020, 08:59:17 pm »

Perhaps if / as the UK has a new ability so simplify things and can amend standards to be appropriate for us, we might see something like this between Arrochar and Ardlui in years to come:


Do I detect the whiff of Brexit in this post?

If so, we still have the Health & Safety Regulations (the real ones, not the imagined ones), and we still have the Compensation Culture where someone else is always to blame when we've been an absolute idiot, and we still have insurance companies covering their backsides like backside-covering was going out of fashion and making people do things that aren't really necessary just so they're sure they don't get landed with a claim they have to pay out.

If I didn't detect the whiff of Brexit, and it may have been the rotting seaweed on Clovelly (South Africa) beach that my conk picked up, we still have the Health & Safety Regulations (the real ones, not the imagined ones), and we still have the Compensation Culture where someone else is always to blame when we've been an absolute idiot, and we still have insurance companies covering their backsides like backside-covering was going out of fashion and making people do things that aren't really necessary just so they're sure they don't get landed with a claim they have to pay out.

To summarise, don't expect any "Colonel Stehens" style electrification schemes just yet... Wink

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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2020, 11:53:29 pm »

I think this may all be barking up the wrong stanchion - rules (of whatever kind) don't really come into it.

The GW electrification uses F+F's Series 1, which looks like it does because that's what the customer asked for. Partly that's the intended usage - high-speed, high-intensity main lines. Partly it's the idea of reducing erection labour, by having a big kid's toy of bits that interlock. Now, it may well be true that that was taken to far, and in any case didn't cut the installation cost. It could also be argued that it was over-engineered as well, and of course the customer didn't think aesthetics came into it at all.

But even Series 1 isn't that excessive, despite being for twice the line speed, if you only have single tracks (plus a few double bits)to cope with - see picture.

There is an obvious place to look for hints - or rather more than hints - of what DfT believes might be done: this report done for DfT in 2010:
Quote
Low Cost Electrification for Branch Lines

This report has been prepared as a result of work undertaken for the Department for Transport (DfT) Research Project: LowCost Electrification.
The objective of the research is to establish if it can be economically feasible to electrify lowusage branch lines on the National Rail Network. Such lines are currently operated using diesel multiple unit (DMU) type rolling stock and it is considered that replacing these with modern tramtype electric vehicles can offer the following benefits:
•  Reduced operating costs, particularly with regard to rolling stock
•  Immunity from shortterm fluctuations of fuel costs
•  A reduction in overall carbon emissions
•  Reduced impact on the local environment (air quality and noise levels)
•  Improved passenger experience
...

That's currently listed as "This publication was withdrawn on 9 April 2018. This is no longer current." I don't know why, and it doesn't say superseded. Also, note the rather narrow scope - it was only ever looking at light rail/trams, and the costings seem very informal, even anecdotal.
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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2020, 07:54:35 am »

Perhaps if / as the UK has a new ability so simplify things and can amend standards to be appropriate for us, we might see something like this between Arrochar and Ardlui in years to come:


Do I detect the whiff of Brexit in this post?


Yes, to the extent of saying "it should have been possible anyway" if you look at my example of an electrified line in Germany.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2020, 10:53:01 am »

Hmmm...

Looks like a subject for a campaign. I've noticed over the years a number of continental electrified branch lines with what look to be simpler cheaper OHL systems, although from what Stuving implies it was not the prime cost of gantries etc that was the issue with the GWMLR electrification excessive cost.

Are there any consulting engineers or cost consultants in our number who might be able to put some reasonably robust (ie, not politically motivated think tank costs!) on something like this, properly planned and rolled out as a continuous programme of upgrading works so as to avoid over costs of project set up each time a line is tackled?
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Adrian
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« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2020, 01:57:48 pm »

So, what were the main causes of cost overruns on the GWML electrification?  For any new electrification projects to get the go-ahead, there must surely need to be confidence that NR can cost them reasonably accurately - whether it's series 1 or something more lightweight for branch lines.

I think the Government is going to be under a lot of pressure to commit very soon to a credible plan to de-carbonise the railways in a similar timescale to cars going electric.  There's a lot of talk about carbon neutrality by 2050 but no real detail about what really needs to happen and when, and railway electrification seems like the only proven technology available at the moment.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2020, 02:59:34 pm »

The Scots seem to manage cheap electrification. Paisley Canal.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2020, 03:06:56 pm »

The Scots seem to manage cheap electrification. Paisley Canal.

Hmmm...

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/revealed-inquiry-launched-as-cost-of-upgrading-edinburgh-to-glasgow-rail-line-soars-by-116m/
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stuving
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2020, 03:08:23 pm »

I think I left out a sentence from my previous post:
If a customer for OLE (not necessarily Network Rail, of course) has a lower spec. in terms of speed and duty, and perhaps also a different approach to installation costs and the value of chunkiness, then they can and presumably will buy something lighter.

Here's another example: the tram-train line from Nantes to Chateaubriant. There's a quoted costing of the whole upgrade (62 km) at €200M, but that included rebuilding the track (closed since 1980) and stations so it's hard to say how much was electrification. The two-strut support is, I should think, lighter than the single-insulator cantilever of Series 1, so the steel upright may be lighter too. Note that this looks very similar to what was fitted to the LGV to Rennes, at least in simple plain line stretches.

While that Delta Rail report said 750 V would be a lot cheaper, here the out-of-town section was done with 25 kV. Note that the tram-trains had to be dual voltage anyway, as that's the only option at Nantes station, while the next urban bit had to be 750V DC as runs beside and crosses over the trams' wires. That ruled out feeding the main part of the branch off the main line's 25 kV supply, so there's one (small) feed station at Nort-sur-Erdre.
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TonyK
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2020, 07:12:07 pm »

So, what were the main causes of cost overruns on the GWML electrification? 

Very much the question on a lot of lips! The answer may have been at least in part the Unknown. The cost of an actual OHLE support kit should be relatively straightforward to calculate, simply by adding the sum of its parts. The labour cost should be estimable - but only if it is known with reasonable certainty what has to be done. The GWR had the much-vaunted HOOP train, capable of electrifying 1600m of line in a single overnight possession, but it became apparent that not every variable had been measured. It went from a mechanised process to having to dig exploratory holes to see what cabling had been buried over the years. Suddenly, they are running at half speed, and that was not the only shock to the job. Every small job not on the original list takes time to do, and causes a backlog in everything. On a project like GWR, that soon escalates.

Maybe smaller lines won't be so problematic. There may be more certainty about what is buried in the lineside, and the HOOP could do its work properly there. Shorter lines will by definition take a lot less time, so a transformation can be achieved in weeks rather than years if the stock of tunnels and bridges is small. As to whether or not lighter kit would work, that's an engineering decision primarily. However, if the cost of the Full Monty stanchion etc isn't so much more than a lighter rig as a percentage of the whole price of electrifying the line, there seems little reason to use the lighter kit.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2020, 09:42:12 pm by TonyK » Logged

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Andy
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« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2020, 05:22:49 pm »

With Atlantic gales and storms of the Ciara ilk, light-weight electrification on the Newquay branch might prove a bit flimsy. Although the line skirts the Cornish Alps, I'm not sure they provide quite the same shelter as the Swiss & Austrian ones.

 
   
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Adrian
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« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2020, 10:49:48 pm »

Maybe Windsor and Henley branches would be good for some lower spec trials?
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TonyK
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« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2020, 01:14:57 pm »

With Atlantic gales and storms of the Ciara ilk, light-weight electrification on the Newquay branch might prove a bit flimsy. Although the line skirts the Cornish Alps, I'm not sure they provide quite the same shelter as the Swiss & Austrian ones.

Speak to Blackpool if you want advice on how to make it strong enough for gales on a coastline.

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