Published on : Friday, September 1, 2017
Trains running along the south-western coast based on Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway have been at the receiving end of a great deal of salt water and sea spray, that has been corroding and destroying the equipment.
Currently, a fresh simply design change is on tracks to make sure that the trains running here would be capable of combating the worst of weather.
The problem is especially more visible on the stretches like Dawlish in Devon where the track runs alongside the coast on its way to Exeter.
A new generation of ‘Dawlish proof’ trains is now ready to be rolled out on the route promising that that they would be strong enough to withstand the worst south west might throw at them. Many of the trains that run on the line suffer from a design fault leading to brake resistors dissipating energy while braking and turning it back into electricity. It lies in a sunken well on the rood where rain and sea water is collected during storms adversely impacting their working parts.
While the already existent 40-year-old Speed Trains have not been impacted, the Voyager fleet have been operated by Cross Country that operates between Scotland and Penzance through Bristol and Dawlish.
They have suffered from this problem ever since the time they were introduced in the year 2001.
But then, the new Class 802 Intercity Express Trains running from London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance from the next year have all been designed with a raised platform on which the resistors sit, permitting water to run off the roof and away from the equipment.
Currently engineers are conducting several exhaustive tests to make sure that the smart looking bullet-shaped trains can be capable of dealing with the wildest Atlantic storms lashing the West County coastline and here, gigantic waves hit the rail line.
As a part of the test, high speed trains have been exposed to extreme weather conditions.
For instance, gallons of salt water have been dumped on them. They are now undergoing live test runs along many routes in the area, between Cogload and Bruton in Somerset.
Three of the new trains constructed by Hitachi Rail were out through a vast train washing system permitting great amount of water to be poured on them to test not only the strength of the brake resistor platforms but also the waterproof seals of the carriage doors and windows.
The fleet of 33 trains were all modeled on the bullet trains of Japan and were built by Hitachi Rail Europe at its factory in Italy’s Pistoia.
It is expected that the high speed trains would minimize the journey to six minutes from Paddington to Exeter to Plymouth and journeys to Penzance would be cut by up to 14 minutes.
Stations like Exeter St. Davids, Penzance, Plymouth and Taunton would also be improved to a considerable extent, apart from signaling the route.