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Author Topic: Opportunities to do more engineering while things are quiet  (Read 851 times)
grahame
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« on: May 06, 2020, 04:09:07 pm »

One of the questions asked recently - "does the reduction in train services at present allow for engineering works on trains and track to be caught up on?".

Certainly the reduction of services has allowed the remaining ones to run much more reliabely ... ppms and cancellation rates against key route schedules being  dramatically improved.  Dark humour joke is that railways run far better without passengers; reallity is that removal of congestion, and a better availability of crew and trains, has done wonders.

For significant engineering works, there's a great deal of preparation to be done ahead of time and I would expect little to be brought forward.  So I am surprised and delighted to pick up from the Daventry Express works to Kilsby tunnel on the West Coast main line:

Quote
But Network Rail's engineers are using the lull in regular services and May's two Bank Holiday weekends to start work early on replacing track and improving drainage in the 1½-mile long tunnel, which is usually used by around 400 trains each day between London and Birmingham.

Kilsby Tunnel is on a two track section of the main line; there are four track from London to Roade, where the second pair ("slow" lines) loop off to the east to Pass thrrough Northampton and then head north through Long Buckby to rejoin the main line just south of Rugby.  So not all that long a diversion, but I can recall wheel-squealing tight curves into Northampton and a bit of a nightmare when there are problmes on the direct line at normal traffic levels.

The second part of my question - catching up on trains mainenance - I don't know.  On one hand, social distancing in the workshops.  On the other hand, stuff is not running as many miles and getting to need service anything like as quick!
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johnneyw
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2020, 09:37:34 pm »

It might have been a good time to get working on the Portway Station now that the Severn Beach Line is on a much reduced commuter service.
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« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2020, 01:58:46 pm »

Kilsby Tunnel is on a two track section of the main line; there are four track from London to Roade, where the second pair ("slow" lines) loop off to the east to Pass thrrough Northampton and then head north through Long Buckby to rejoin the main line just south of Rugby.  So not all that long a diversion, but I can recall wheel-squealing tight curves into Northampton and a bit of a nightmare when there are problmes on the direct line at normal traffic levels.

Yes, Northampton is certainly not geared up to take express trains!  Not only have you got the very slow 20mph restriction immediately south of the station, which there is little prospect of doing anything about, but the layout through and north of the station and then onwards to Rugby is pretty restrictive:  Twenty or thirty through the station area, raising to sixty for quite a long stretch until after the curves north of the town, and then finally 75mph through to Rugby. 

Really that 75mph should be at least 90mph (there has been talk of that over the years), and the whole track layout immediately north of the station could do with optimising.  I have a friend who's a driver on the WCML and his heart sinks when he gets diverted that way!

Worth watching on the OTT map at the moment as you can see how slowly everything moves, how many extra trains there are, and how long the expresses being diverted take to weave through Northampton:  https://www.opentraintimes.com/maps/signalling/lec4#T_NMPTN
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« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2020, 07:30:10 pm »

While its seems to a great idea, however it should be remembered that NR maintenance teams have been impacted by the virus or having to self isolate, the same applies to the contractors, I suspect the ToC's will have had similar issues,

Maintaining the social distancing has meant many tasks which require staff to work closer than 2 metres to each other to be assessed, this has taken time to re asses tasks to be compliant with Covid-19 restrictions and still safe to do, to issue the PPE and guidance on when a how to use it and dispose of.

Don't forget the separation also applies in mess rooms, briefings, welfare facilities (toilets and showers), office, vans


and finally having off the shelf shovel ready projects by which I mean all the designs signed off, tools, equipment, martial, machines, staff etc ready to go


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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2020, 08:39:41 am »

From our GWR contact at the end of last week (question had been raised at our liaison meeting a few days earlier)

Hitachi and maintenance of IETs - There is a great deal of work being completed on the two fleets at the moment and we are working closely with Hitachi to ensure they are using the time as efficiently as possible. We have effectively been cycling the sets between ‘stored units’ and ‘service units’, which enables Hitachi to get as many modifications completed on the units as possible with the materials and resources they have – once a unit is completed it is released and an alternative unit is stopped for modifications.  They have made good progress with modifications, customer facing defects, deep cleans and work is underway on the TMS software update.
 
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Thatcham Crossing
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2020, 08:56:54 am »

......I wonder if they've fixed the issues (with the DOO cameras) so that IET's can be used on the Bedwyn's without a TM?
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2020, 09:37:38 am »

We seem to have diverged into IET thread territory.  For the latest on that see here:

http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=18792.msg288518#msg288518
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Thatcham Crossing
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2020, 01:59:39 pm »

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We seem to have diverged into IET thread territory.

Maybe so, maybe not. I saw this was relevant to the thread title as it is engineering of a sort, and it has been well-documented that the IET fleet has been much more lightly-used during lockdown than in normal times.

Anyway, I don't see any recent update on this in the IET thread so will ask on there.

What I can see locally is that there are no IET's on the Bedwyn's at the moment, presumably as the turbo's which have returned can be run DOO, which I assume is preferable during the current situation.
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« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2020, 03:54:13 pm »

They’re only running to and from Reading so a Turbo is preferable - means they can use P1-3 at Reading.
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« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2020, 07:35:58 pm »

They’re only running to and from Reading so a Turbo is preferable - means they can use P1-3 at Reading.

Isn't platform 3 long enough to turn a 5 car train ... Bournemouth Voyagers - or is that a just the shorter carriages.
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2020, 10:17:54 pm »

Isn't platform 3 long enough to turn a 5 car train ... Bournemouth Voyagers - or is that a just the shorter carriages.

Yes, Platform 3 is long enough for a 5-car Voyager/Turbo (as are Platforms 1 and 2), but at between 120-124 metres none of them are long enough for a 5-car IET at a nominal 130 metres.  I think one might just fit in behind the signal on Platform 3 as it's a little way off the platform (and, uniquely for Reading, ground mounted), but it doesn't feature in the SDO system, so use of it would require manual door selection and obviously isn't encouraged.
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TonyK
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2020, 05:13:19 pm »

It might have been a good time to get working on the Portway Station now that the Severn Beach Line is on a much reduced commuter service.

More likely that the pandemic is used as an excuse for missing the deadline. This is WECA, you know.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 04:24:47 pm »

It might have been a good time to get working on the Portway Station now that the Severn Beach Line is on a much reduced commuter service.

More likely that the pandemic is used as an excuse for missing the deadline. This is WECA, you know.

Now that you say it, it seems so obvious.  Silly me.
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