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Poll
Question: How will Exeter's first train under electric power reach there?  (Voting closed: July 06, 2020, 08:02:57 am)
25kv overhead from London - 11 (24.4%)
25kv overhead Devon Metro (local network) - 1 (2.2%)
Third Rail from Waterloo - 2 (4.4%)
Some other way - 0 (0%)
Won't happen within 15 years - 31 (68.9%)
Total Voters: 45

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Author Topic: Electric trains to Exeter? How do you see it happening?  (Read 1450 times)
grahame
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« on: June 27, 2020, 12:22:03 pm »

From Transport Xtra

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Ways of delivering infill rail electrification in areas with 750V DC third rail are to be explored in a study for the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB).

Most of the rail network in southeast England is third rail, including the lines in Kent, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and parts of Dorset. Weymouth is the western extremity of the DC network. The Merseyrail Electrics network also uses third rail.

A small number of non-electrified passenger lines exist in the South East: Ashford to Hastings; Oxted to Uckfield; and Wokingham-Ash and Guildford to Redhill on the North Downs Line. The RSSB’s brief for the new study also cites the West of England line, which runs from Basingstoke to Salisbury and Exeter.

Says the RSSB: “There are also several [passenger] reopening candidates where electrification would be valuable and potentially an essential enabling factor, including the Isle of Grain branch in Medway, the Fawley branch in Hampshire and Headbolt Lane/Skelmersdale in Merseyside.”

My bolding.  And I would also look at Salisbury to Southampton, via Nursling and via Chandler's Ford, as candidates.

"Fun" poll ... I don't suppose members (with a few exceptions) have any influence - but do you think it will happen, and if so, how?
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2020, 12:44:46 pm »

Can't see it happening within 15 years to be honest.  A Salisbury extension of 3rd rail might.
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 01:08:58 pm »

I could easily see the replacements for 158/159 units as being bi-modes (diesel and third rail) so there would be less diesel going into London. It would make sense for the third rail to reach Salisbury (although ORR not keen on such extensions) as there are divisions and attachments of units there so extra time in switching modes would be negligible. It would also help SWR when diverting away from Winchester if the Laverstock curve and line to Southampton was also third railed.

The Electric Spine (now not frequently talked about) had overheads from Basingstoke to Southampton but would have had a severe impact on compatibilty between 25kv and 750dc (probably only one system possible).

I really do wonder if its not beyond the wit of engineers to gradually change the contact point on third rail to either side or beneath which would do away with many of the safety concerns (and improve reliability in ice/snow). Yes, it might take 25 years or more to complete but when you have a large job to do you need to start? Although I understand 750dc is less efficient it is difficult to believe that overheads will replace third rail in the London area due to the enormous costs and disruption in raising bridges and other infrastructure changes. Think that goes into the bin marked 'too difficult' and the best should be made of the existing arrangements.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2020, 01:45:09 pm »

There are two articles in the July edition if Modern Railways on electrification. The first by David Shirres looks at getting to net zero and the second by Ian Walmsley looks at 3rd rail extensions.

I think that it is more likely that Southampton to Salisbury and thence to Basingstoke and Reading will be 25kV, primarily for the freight movement.
From Salisbury to Exeter is a long shot for electrification. If Salisbury is done as 25kV then it would make sense to extend that to Exeter is the financial case stacked up. However, I think it unlikely. Considering that it will soon be necessary to replace the159s then a decision on the route needs to be made sooner rather than later. If Salisbury is done at 25kV then a trimode unit will be needed. What ever is to happen needs careful long term consideration as there are infrastructure implications relating to the location of additional passing  loops as these would be differ depending on the traction used, as was determined in the Wessex RUS released a few years back.
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eightf48544
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2020, 03:54:42 pm »

If within 15 years 25KV via Bristol. After that maybe via Westbury

In Modern Railways Salisbury Exeter is shown as unlikey. If it happens I think it won't be third rail but an extension of the Reading Basingstoke 25Kv (Southampton for freight)  .

If Southampton goes 25KV then fill in Southampton/Eastleigh to Salisbury/Westbury and Exeter.

Unfortuantely that leaves Westbury - Dorchester which is shown as unlikely in Modern Railways, but I think if we are serious about climate change then it should be 25Kv. Unless if goes hydrogen!``````````

It will need a lot of dual voltage units, but Thameslink/ Overground runs successfully with dual mode units.

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grahame
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2020, 04:02:56 pm »

Following up from my original quote ...

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The £200,000 study will identify ways to remove diesel services either by “enabling extensions to the existing electric network or appropriate alternatives”. The chosen contractor will explore options for reducing the safety risk of third rail systems.

Reminds me of the report of a meeting I heard about, talking about what appeared to be a modest improvement at a station "somewhere in rural England".   The councillors and Network Rail were discussing possibilities and Network Rail said a report would be needed - £5,000 please.  Councillors thought that was a bit steep - but, OK, specialists costs money and agreed.  "No - you don't understand - it's £5,000 to work out how much a report would cost".

That's a story from a very reliable source (and should that source read this post, thank you) but it's close enough to need to be anonymous.
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broadgage
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2020, 05:53:34 pm »

Any significant extension of third rail is effectively prohibited by the health and safety industry. Whilst there are various ways in which conductor rails can be made less dangerous, I cant see any way of significantly reducing the risks AND remaining compatible with existing routes and existing rolling stock.

I am not aware of any specific law or regulation that says "no more conductor rail" but someone somewhere will have to "sign off" a proposed new installation as being as safe as is reasonably practical.
Whom is going to declare a new installation as being safe as reasonably practical, whilst knowingly rejecting a readily available and safer alternative. 
Remember that the person approving the installation could face prosecution, perhaps decades later when a trespasser is killed.

Eventually 25Kv trains will reach Exeter, either from Paddington, or by use of duel voltage stock from Waterloo. Doubt that it will be within 15 years though.
Better get a move on, before the health and safety ban 25Kv overhead.
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It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2020, 06:10:36 pm »

Nice idea but won't happen just more talk. BiModes might be a possibility but nothing more.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2020, 07:02:16 pm »

Here is the ORR position on 3rd rail extension.
It places the onus of safety with the organisation promoting the extension. It specifically mentions the time taken for isolations but NR South East and presumably Wessex are installing modular isolation systems that make it both safer and quicker.

https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/17621/dc-electrification-policy-statement.pdf
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Bob_Blakey
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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2020, 07:05:18 pm »

The much mentioned - by Network Rail anyway - rolling programme of 25kV electrification must proceed. The first fairly immediate step on the B&H should be wiring to Bedwyn, so the IET's can be replaced by 387's. Follow that with electrification in stages to Westbury (new electric service to include the projected Devizes Parkway station), Taunton & Exeter.

The electrification project teams have enough recent practice, particularly in terms of what not to do, on this route to complete the work in 5-7 years.

(At the same time perhaps the DfT & NR would care to remove their collective head from the orifice in which it currently resides and authorise full completion of the wiring on the routes to BRI.)
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broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2020, 07:40:26 pm »

Here is the ORR position on 3rd rail extension.
It places the onus of safety with the organisation promoting the extension. It specifically mentions the time taken for isolations but NR South East and presumably Wessex are installing modular isolation systems that make it both safer and quicker.

https://orr.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/17621/dc-electrification-policy-statement.pdf

"Modular isolation" does not alter the fact that a lethal voltage is exposed at ankle height. If a graffiti "artist" is electrocuted then the horrific task of collecting the charred remains is made a bit easier, but they are still just as dead, and their relatives could still sue.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
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« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2020, 06:35:01 am »

Can't see it happening within 15 years to be honest.  A Salisbury extension of 3rd rail might.

I agree.

While there is some infill schemes being considered for 750V DC, there are only realistically being looked at in the heart of the existing DC network.

Surely getting the Swindon - Bristol TM route complete has to be the priority in the West
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CyclingSid
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2020, 07:58:18 am »

Surely before considering anything else about Salisbury to Exeter, it would need to be doubled throughout, whatever form of traction.

Are RSSB and ORR really at cross-purposes? ORR saying no and RSSB saying can we.? Or have I read it wrong (not unknown).

Would have thought more sensible to do the fill-in of the North Downs Line, or some similar "small" scheme within the South East commuter area (or taking current political dogma literally Merseyside is more likely).
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bradshaw
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2020, 08:47:25 am »

Ian Warmsley’s article in Modern Railways discusses the safety aspect. The ORR stated that 3rd rail eight times the equivalent fatalaties of OHLE at 25kV. A recent study shows the figures to be 0.47 Fatalities and Weighted Injuries Related to the 3rd rail vice 0.23, whereas the railway as a whole comes in at 59.6.

I would not put forward the idea of wholesale additions to the 3rd Rail network but infills such as Oxted and the North Downs line need to be considered. The other outpost, Ashford to Hastings, would be better done at 25kV so that it could be served from HS1 at Ashford.

I o nor think that the Salisbury to Exeter line will be doubled throughout due to the cost involved. There are a number of locations where the track has been slewed to avoid a weak part of the embankment and a couple of stations where significant construction will be needed, Crewkerne for example. I feel it would be better served by extensions of loops such as at Tisbury and at Templecombe, bringing the double track into the station. Towards Exeter the extension of the passing loops will be needed for the Devon Metro service and this might justify a greater amount of redoubling between Chard and Exeter.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2020, 10:59:22 am »

Regardless of safety, third rail just seems to be an inferior way of electrification. I can't see it happening within 15 years but I can see projects being put forward in that time.
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