Latest Rail News

22.10.15

DfT still to decide whether to delay Great Western electrification

Network Rail and the DfT are still in discussions as to whether timescales for the Great Western electrification should be delayed, RTM has learned.

In the same week that Network Rail boss Mark Carne revealed the project's costs have nearly doubled to up to £2.8bn, Chris Wilson, project engineering manager on Great Western Route Modernisation, said Network Rail is working with the Department to agree "achievable timescales" that tie up with the IEP programme and the subsequent AT300 project.

Speaking during a Q&A session at the IET's Railway Electrification seminar today (22 October), Wilson added that when information relating to new timetables is published – the Hendy Review is due in November – that "will be the timescales we're aiming to hit".

"Our lords and masters, when you follow the train up, are the DfT. They are the guys that are putting their hands in their pockets for all this," he said. "The agreement will come down to what the DfT want us to do, because the Department has feet in every camp with the IEP programme, the electrification and with Great Western Railway."

Wilson, who discussed the challenges faced with project engineering a major electrification programme, and the issues with parallel systems development and delivery, added the "decision is, fundamentally, out of our hands".

"They [the DfT] will have to decide whether they want to delay the electrification of the existing access agreements," he said. "If they want to bring the electrification in any earlier, they will have to agree the access with GWR and the impact on the existing contract that they have with Hitachi. It is [in the] ongoing discussions that Network  Rail,  as an organisation, will agree [a timetable] with the DfT."

More from the IET electrification seminar in the next edition of RTM. Rail professionals can subscribe for free here.

Comments

Henry Law   23/10/2015 at 18:26

I was one of the two authors of an article which was published in in the Railway Magazine in 1985 proposing that the GW main line should be electrified on the third rail system. We pointed out that the GW is or could be linked to DC electrification systems in London and at Reading, providing the possibility of through running from Reading onto the Metropolitan Line (this was before Crossrail was mooted), and from eg Southampton to Oxford. We also noted that progressive electrification westwards from London could be brought into use as soon as the third rail had reached Ealing. Other benefits would have been that it would not have interfered with architectural features which are the reason why the line is a World Heritage Site, requiring special measures to reduce the visual impact and damage needed to fit in the overhead structures. Although the article was slightly tongue-in-cheek, with the benefit of hindsight it is a pity that nobody in a position to make decisions picked up the idea.

Simhedges   24/10/2015 at 00:21

"The world speed record for a third rail train is 174 km/h (108 mph)" (from Wikipedia). So yes, *very* tongue in cheek.

Southern Electric For All   26/10/2015 at 17:40

The world speed record for surface contact is 174km/h, has anyone tried to improve on this? Some SWD drivers did better with the plastic pigs at times.... Certainly there were some experiments by the Japanese in the late 80's to see what might improve the surface contact system as opposed to the drag of a pantograph together with the inherent problems of pantograph bounce and wire tensioning. Overhead has all sorts of issues - environmentally it is ugle, it requires an all change approach to everything before a train can run and if the wires come down everyone is in chaos. Side contact has few of these issues but has for decades been derided by 'experts' - or those who only see in one direction. Surface contact would even work along the Dawlish Sea Wall - unlike Overheads which will spend more time down than up - especially in the winter, the surface contact atmostpheric system recorded 90+% reliability when in use along the sea wall- overheads won't manage that except on really good days!

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

17/04/2019Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

A new interactive map which lets passengers find out about accessibility at stations has been launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to help b... more >
Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

17/04/2019Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

Helium-filled balloons are causing hundreds of train delays at a cost of £1m in taxpayer money every year, Network Rail has revealed. ... more >
Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

17/04/2019Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

Plans for an £80m sea wall to protect the Dawlish coastal rail line from extreme weather have been by approved by Teignbridge District Coun... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >