£700,000 insulator renewal is a key component of improving performance: IMG 6809

Monday 19 Nov 2018

£700,000 insulator renewal is a key component of improving performance

Region & Route:
Scotland

Work is now underway on a six-month, £700,000 programme to renew major components on the overhead line electrification system on the Argyle line.

The project will see around 1,100 insulators replaced on one of Glasgow’s busiest commuter lines, between Rutherglen and Finnieston.

The Argyle line which includes Exhibition Centre, Glasgow Central Low Level and Argyle Street stations operates more than 500 services a day and carries around 470,000 passengers a week.

The work will improve performance on a part of the railway that experiences the highest number of electrical ‘trips’ on the Scotland route. Insulators stop the flow of current and separate the live OLE at 25,000 volts from structures to keep passengers safe.  

Electrical trips are caused by bird strikes, water ingress from the tunnel roofs and contamination - which weakens and damages the overhead electrification system.

Replacing the damaged components with new polymeric insulators improves resilience on this busy section of the route and ultimately will improve reliability for passenger services.

While working on the line the project will also undertake renewals and repairs to address minor defects where identified.

The delivery of this work stems from recommendations made by railway industry expert Nick Donovan earlier this year to improve the performance of Scotland’s railway infrastructure.

Following the review, he made 20 recommendations to improve performance on Scotland’s railway and is now working with the teams to implement them.

Marie Anne Hendry, infrastructure maintenance engineer for Network Rail said: “Maintaining overhead line electrification systems where we have only limited access to the tracks and in tunnels which are subject to water ingress and contamination is a challenge.

“Replacing key components of the system with better performing, modern equivalents will reduce the number of electrical trips and the consequential delays caused to our customers.

“The renewal of insulators on this busy line is just one aspect of identifying and working hard to tackle underlying problems on the network that can cause performance to fall below the high standard we aim for.”

Work to renew the insulators on the Argyle line will be complete by the end of March 2019.

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