Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Rail Factoids - 5 - GWML Electrification

The UK's Great Western main line (GWML) is to be electrified, at least the section between London and Cardiff anyway.  The head of electrification for Network Rail, Peter Dearman, gave some statistics in an interview with Rail Technology Magazine (June/July 2011) as follows:
  • 137 bridges need modifications to allow overhead wires;
  • 30% of bridges need a complete rebuild;
  • Civil works will cost about the same as the electrical works;
  • 23.000 steel masts will be required;
  • 800kms of wiring and registration assemblies;
  • Each wiring train will have a mile each of contact and catenary wire on it;
  • Wiring will be done at night, six nights a week, 36 weeks a year;
  • Network Rail are 50% short of the skills they need for the project.
Looking at the £5billion published budget, we can break this down as bit.  We can take out the cost of new trains at £750million (300 vehicles at £2.75million each) and the Reading area modernisation at £850million which gives us £3.4billion.  If half this is civil works, the actual electrification works out at £7.3million per kilometre.  That's more expensive than I'd expect but it does include signal immunisation work too, so it might come down to £6.5million per km.  Well...still expensive.

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