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Author Topic: Great Western Main Line electrification - ongoing discussion  (Read 696654 times)
Electric train
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« Reply #915 on: May 13, 2014, 05:26:32 pm »

Still a relative bargain compared to the ^40 billion + being wasted on HS2 though?

I guess we'll have to agree to differ on our opinion on the need for HS2, but it's an interesting comparison, though the HS2 costs will include land purchase and compensation as well as the rather large "optimism bias" imposed by the Treasury for works of this nature.

I note that on the FGW website they quote a spend of ^7.5bn by Network Rail on GW upgrades.

http://www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/About-Us/greater-west

Presumably in addition to electrification, this includes schemes such as Reading rebuild and flyovers, Swindon-Kemble redoubling and Filton Bank four-track replacement, as well as Temple Meads and Oxford station upgrades. Not sure if the Crossrail part of the GWML is included in this.

One can argue whether HS2 or GW upgrade represents better value but it looks like both are happening.

Also re signalling virtually the entire route Hayes to Bristol, all the work around Oxford

There's a lot going on
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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".
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« Reply #916 on: May 13, 2014, 06:20:15 pm »

Still a relative bargain compared to the ^40 billion + being wasted on HS2 though?

We should agree to disagree on HS2. Like Filton Bank four-tracking, Crossrail, Portishead, Kemble reodoubling, the Bicester chord, and a whole bundle of other enhancements, HS2 will increase capacity, in this case from South to North, where voices are loud in support. If it must be built, then it makes sense to build it to a high-speed spec.

It is a shame that the budget is going to be busted for electrification, but not a huge surprise. This is one of those cases when you don't really know what needs doing until you start doing it, and the issues with the weather haven't helped. There is no question of not doing it this time, and it will be worth the pain and the cost to have a modern, efficient, and expandable electric railway. As Electric train is keen to point out (quite rightly) the future is 25KV OHLE. My former home Blackpool will be a beneficiary of electrification, and has recently had its tramway essentially rebuilt, with the foresight to make it compatible with European Tram-train spec. The local council has, very recently, approved a contribution of ^1.6 million to have the tramway run away from the promenade to Blackpool North Station. The total cost of ^16 million will be covered by that and Transport for Lancashire, the ITA that Bristol, for one, lacks. In this way, transport becomes integrated forever.
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« Reply #917 on: May 14, 2014, 01:29:59 pm »

On a lighter note two Class 20s (189 and 142), very smart in the new Balfour Beatty blue and white livery, have appeared in platform 6 at Slough. Apparently for electrifcation work.
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didcotdean
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« Reply #918 on: May 14, 2014, 02:23:05 pm »

It is a shame that the budget is going to be busted for electrification, but not a huge surprise. This is one of those cases when you don't really know what needs doing until you start doing it, and the issues with the weather haven't helped.
Certainly seems that they underestimated the works required and hence cost of raising a number of the bridges. I daresay they weren't in such a state of repair that there was concern if they remained as they were, but attempting to build them up has revealed foundations not sufficient, structural issues etc.

As to 'disputes with councils' that also reflects insufficient planning and local engagement. You can't expect to put in to divert traffic several, even tens of miles for six months especially on major routes without providing suitable alternatives.
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« Reply #919 on: May 14, 2014, 02:51:28 pm »

On a lighter note two Class 20s (189 and 142), very smart in the new Balfour Beatty blue and white livery, have appeared in platform 6 at Slough. Apparently for electrifcation work.

In connection with the reinstatement of the former Langley Oil Terminal sidings as they will be used during the Crossrail electrification works.
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« Reply #920 on: May 14, 2014, 08:37:55 pm »

Can anyone clarify please. Is it one elctrification team working form Hayes to Maidenhead for Crossrail and another from Maidenhead to Swansea for the DfT and Welsh assembly? Or is it the same team being paid from two different pots one for Crossrail and the other for the GWML.
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Electric train
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« Reply #921 on: May 14, 2014, 09:01:11 pm »

Can anyone clarify please. Is it one elctrification team working form Hayes to Maidenhead for Crossrail and another from Maidenhead to Swansea for the DfT and Welsh assembly? Or is it the same team being paid from two different pots one for Crossrail and the other for the GWML.

Certainly there are 2 separate contacts for the Crossrail and the GW electrification, they will be the same (or very similar) members of the contractors staff working on both.

To the outsider it may seem barmy way to work, however these are funded from different sources, yes I know its all tax payers money but HM Treasury don't do sensible, therefore they have to be kept separate contractually. Crossrail has its delivery targets to achieve set by TfL and DfT and GW has its set by the ORR and DfT.

There is a lot of joined up thinking going on in the background to ensure the two schemes join seamlessly at Maidenhead ............... or at least that's what someone in the GW project told me  Grin

The GW electrification construction delivery teams are just starting to ramp up, I can always tell because the number of offers of jobs increases, were as the Crossrail teams are about 6 months ahead.

The biggest problem the industry has is the number of experienced OLE construction staff, there just aren't enough; engineers from Spain, Germany and Hungary are brought over this very expensive though
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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".
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« Reply #922 on: May 15, 2014, 10:10:46 am »

My understanding was that Balfour Beatty have the contract for electrification from Airport Junction to Maidenhead under the Crossrail contract and Amey are doing from Maidenhead to Newbury, Oxford, Bristol and Cardiff under the GWML electrification contract. Not sure about Cardiff to Swansea and the Valley lines electrification.

In the meantime Network Rail have started to update the GW electrification pages on their site.

On the Didcot to Swindon section dates have been announced for the road closures for bridge rebuilding on this section.  Oddly these appear on the Oxfordshire County Council website but not the NR one yet. See here:-

http://voyager.oxfordshire.gov.uk/map.aspx

(to view individual dates, uncheck everything under Travel options then check Roadworks and set Calendar to "All dates")

The one exception is the A338 bridge at Wantage Road over which there has been much controversy. From the announcement here:-

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/great-western-electrification/oxfordshire/

..it appears that Network Rail have now agreed to install a temporary bridge at the site during the rebuild so that the road remains open. Maybe that will placate the riled burghers of Wantage and Grove  Grin  No doubt this will have contributed the budget overspend by NR mentioned earlier as well.
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Western Enterprise
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« Reply #923 on: May 15, 2014, 10:51:45 am »

On a lighter note two Class 20s (189 and 142), very smart in the new Balfour Beatty blue and white livery, have appeared in platform 6 at Slough. Apparently for electrifcation work.

Well done 8F!
I also saw them this morning, quite splendid in their grey / blue livery.

I also noticed that they had what looked like wood wagons sandwiched between them and original headcodes boxes!
One was 'T0' and the other was '1K73', a very interesting choice.
Are those scottish codes?
WE.
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« Reply #924 on: May 15, 2014, 11:16:55 am »

One was 'T0' and the other was '1K73', a very interesting choice.
Are those scottish codes?

1K73 is the 11:40 Norwich to Cambridge, so they'd better get their skates on if they're going to get there on time for that working.  Shocked
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To view my cab run over the new Reading Viaduct as well as a relief line cab ride at Reading just after Platforms 12-15 opened and my 'before and after' video comparison of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/1
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« Reply #925 on: May 15, 2014, 04:50:19 pm »


1K73 is the 11:40 Norwich to Cambridge, so they'd better get their skates on if they're going to get there on time for that working.  Shocked

Maybe they have decided to work on the 23:30 from Glasgow Central to Ayr instead. (Also 1K73)
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« Reply #926 on: June 12, 2014, 01:21:49 am »

They've been there for a week or so, but the first OLE structure masts in connecting with the GWML electrification (i.e. outside of the Reading rebuild area) have appeared just to the east of Pangbourne.  Supports are being installed overnight in the area, though using traditional methods rather than the HOOP machine.  Hopefully any niggles/delays with the various modules of the HOOP will be sorted shortly and the pace can be upped so that the project doesn't fall too far behind schedule!
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To view my cab run over the new Reading Viaduct as well as a relief line cab ride at Reading just after Platforms 12-15 opened and my 'before and after' video comparison of the Cotswold Line Redoubling scheme, see: http://www.dailymotion.com/user/IndustryInsider/1
Electric train
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« Reply #927 on: June 12, 2014, 08:46:12 pm »


1K73 is the 11:40 Norwich to Cambridge, so they'd better get their skates on if they're going to get there on time for that working.  Shocked

Maybe they have decided to work on the 23:30 from Glasgow Central to Ayr instead. (Also 1K73)

I read the 1 K 73 as being I K B
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« Reply #928 on: July 02, 2014, 01:02:26 pm »

Morning peak in chaos today as a result of a piling crew cutting a signalling cable near Pangbourne. Cardiff terminators and through Cheltenham trains cancelled, some diversions from Bristol via Westbury and other cancellations from Oxford.

In the meantime Network Rail have published an artists impression of the OLE support design to be used in Sydney Gardens, Bath here:

http://www.networkrail.co.uk/great-western-route-modernisation/banes/

Three week blockade planned next summer to install OLE in Box Tunnel followed by a further three week shutdown east of Bath for more wiring.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #929 on: July 02, 2014, 03:12:19 pm »

Those details from Network Rail of the work ahead in Bath, quoted in full:

Quote
Bath update, Tuesday 1 July


Electrification will open the way for a new generation of electric intercity trains serving Bath from 2017, resulting in more seats, more leg room, more tables and a reduction in journey times.

It will also bring a greener and quieter railway, with fewer emissions and a reduction in the noise as electric trains replace the existing diesel ones.

To achieve this, we're doing a package of works in preparation for the electrification of the Bath railway corridor. The majority of the work will be completed at night so trains can operate as normal for passengers.

Work which can't be completed at night and which will affect the City of Bath will be carried out during six weeks from mid-July to the end of August 2015 in two main phases.

The first three week phase will affect only the immediate Box Tunnel area (near Corsham) but the second three week phase also requires the closure the entire railway immediately east of Bath station and the direct route to Trowbridge.

By maximising the work over a six week period it will be completed with the minimum possible disruption to passengers. We will also use the closure to complete other work that was scheduled over the coming years.

The work is planned for the summer of 2015 as we need to sequence the work between work at Reading and Bristol and to avoid bat and newt breeding seasons. There will be further work west of Bath in 2016 that will require further changes to train services over some weekends, but on a smaller scale.

The work to be completed in summer 2015 includes:

  • Lowering the track in Box Tunnel and installing electrification equipment.
  • Aligning the track at Bath Spa station to reduce the stepping gap between the train and the platform, while also making the platforms longer and larger.
  • Installing specially designed electrification equipment in Sydney Gardens in recognition of its unique status as a World Heritage Site. Huge care will be taken to ensure that the work protects the special status of the City of Bath and its listed buildings.
  • We're working with First Great Western, Bath & North East Somerset Council and Bath Tourism Plus to make sure that the electrification of the railway through Bath causes the minimum disruption to rail users and visitors to the city.

The overriding objective of all these organisations is to keep passengers on trains, wherever possible, rather than having to use coach services.

Final plans will be announced in autumn 2014 following dialogue with businesses, tourism representatives and rail users.

All parties are working to ensure that Bath remains open during the works next summer, albeit with reduced train services. Measures under consideration to manage the impact on residents and visitors include:

  • Ensuring commuters and off-peak passengers can travel by train by keeping the rail route west of Bath open throughout the work, so that a reduced service from Bath Spa to London Paddington and Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads and Cardiff Central can operate.
  • Keeping passengers on trains that normally travel through Bath Spa by diverting services where possible.
  • Implementing a high quality coach service between Bath Spa and Chippenham, Trowbridge and Westbury at the same frequency as rail services, connecting passengers with onward train services at those stations.
  • Easing ticket restrictions to enable passengers to use alternative rail routes.
  • Allowing car park season ticket holders to use car parks at alternative train stations.

These proposals will be refined following a review of passenger journeys made at Bath Spa this summer and consultation with user groups.
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