Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Civils v Electricals

I am indebted to Rail Wales magazine (members' journal of Railfuture Cymru) for a report of a lecture given in February by Dr Dave Hewings, a leading electrical engineer at Network Rail.

The Great Western Main Line electrification, currently creeping west towards South Wales, will be state of the art [...] many features of the new infrastructure would be advanced and in some cases world-leading. [...] When electrification is complete, it will be capable of supporting trains running at 140mph.

"It's a pity that the track and signalling won't be up to that standard" tartly added our commentator.

Dr Hewings also asserted that the electrical part of the project was running to time. This is in contradistinction to the overall delays caused by the use of barely-tried new construction techniques and the aged existing infrastructure. When I first started work in the Roads Division at the old MoT, I sensed rivalry between civil engineers and their electrical counterparts. There could be some exasperation on the part of Dr Hewings that the new structures are not going up fast enough.

The revised GWR outline programme is here.

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