die belebende Bedenkung

Pesky Victorian overhead wires

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Social media sites like Twitter provide copious examples of the muddled thinking of HS2 proponents. It’s common to find comments ascribing reliability and capacity problems on the West Coast Main Line to it being ‘Victorian infrastructure’. Here’s an example.

Twitter, Victorian ohle nonsense

How overhead line problems on West Coast are a result of Victorian infrastructure, is impossible to fathom. The route was electrified from the late 1950s onwards — not in the 19th Century — with the structures on the southern section being amongst the strongest in Western Europe. Indeed the 1970s lightweight post-steam sections of electrification, north of Weaver Junction, are more susceptible to disruption than those in the south.

Furthermore, much of the catenary, droppers, and suchlike are less than 15 years old, having been replaced in the Route Modernisation from 1997 onwards (it’s quite likely a lot of that replacement was not actually necessary).

So WCML overhead line problems are nothing to with ‘Victorian infrastructure’, and in the vast majority of cases, the same can be said for signalling and rolling stock problems. Signals tend to have a service life roughly comparable with rolling stock, of around 35 years.

West Coast Main Line near Birmingham, showing new wiring installed during Route Modernisation

Written by beleben

September 9, 2013 at 10:21 am

Posted in HS2

One Response

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  1. Might be said that the only reliable part of the WCML IS the remaining Victorian infrastructure, with bridges carrying heavier trains travelling faster than ever envisaged by their designers, and tunnels with capacity to accommodate the added OHLE and speeding trains.Which bits of ECML were electrified in the 1950’s? ISTR that London-Birmingham was 1966 and followed shortly after Crewe-Manchester in early 1960’s

    Of course that work was made much easier (and less costly) by the fact that there was an parallel route and thus capacity to run the trains.. and that route was then effectvely shut right from Wolverhampton to London, and is being ignored by the desire to build yet another route…

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    September 9, 2013 at 10:36 am

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