Article from Rail Technolgy Magazine - April 2015

Reproduced with kind permission of RTM

Testing of the new Hitachi IEP stock is underway on the Old Dalby test track in Leicestershire, including under the new Rigid Overhead Conductor Rail System (ROCS)

The first of the five-car pre-series Class 800s arrived at Southampton Docks from Japan on 12 March. Most of the trains will be manufactured at Hitachi’s new plant at Newton Aycliffe near Darlington, starting later this year. They are scheduled to come into service on the Great Western Main Line from 2017, and on the East Coast a year later, with the full fleet operational by 2020.

Testing will shift to a section of the East Coast Main Line once complete at Old Dalby.

The Stanton Tunnel part of the Old Dalby test track has recently been refurbished, and uses Furrer+Frey’s high-speed ROCS, which is based on a rigid bar design, not the traditional tensioned overhead line, meaning there is a less likelihood of a de-wirement or snapping of the contact line. It is particularly suited to installation in tunnels, and is described by Furrer+Frey as “the ultimate ‘fit and forget’ system”, with no moving parts and low maintenance requirements.

ROCS overhead equipment inside Stanton Tunnel


Network Rail project manager Graham Denny said: “Installation of conductor beam through Stanton Tunnel has provided Network Rail the opportunity to work alongside leading industry partners to trial high speed running on ballasted track under the Rigid Conductor Rail System, which is a much more reliable overhead contact system. This will build on previous UK experience of conductor beams which have only been used in low speed tracks. In addition to gaining valuable experience about installation techniques including automated drilling, it also provides the opportunity for the new IEP trains to be introduced to this novel infrastructure.”


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