£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:

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.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Owen Campbell
NR Press Office 0141 555 4108 / 07515 617073

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk