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Lineside equipment 'earmuffed' to cope with new trains

azuma at doncaster depot

Network Rail is putting “electrical earmuffs” on lineside equipment to combat the electrical interference from the new bi-mode trains set to run on the East Coast Main Line with its signalling equipment.

It has come to light that the Hitachi bi-mode trains, which can switch between running on diesel and electricity, are set to face problems integrating with old infrastructure on the line north of York. 

A rail industry expert warned that the new trains are electrically ‘‘noisy’’ having high levels of electrical emissions, more so than any other new train introduced onto the network in the recent past.

As a result, when the train passes it interferes with the signalling system – either by knocking out kit or giving false readings.

Network Rail is understood to be putting “electrical earmuffs” on impacted lineside equipment which reduces the electrical noise from trains.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Electro magnetic emissions from the train are interfering with existing safety critical systems – a fact confirmed by the independent report. It is Hitachi’s responsibility to demonstrate that the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains can run safely on the East Coast Main Line, accordingly we believe that this issue should therefore be fixed on the train.

“However, in the interests of finding a practical solution to ensure passengers benefit from the new trains, Network Rail is looking at mitigation to line side infrastructure - alongside further modifications to the trains - which will be subject to further testing by Hitachi to demonstrate compatibility.

“We are committed to delivering improved passenger services and the new trains continue to be tested on the East Coast Main Line.”

New Civil Engineer has contacted Hitachi for comment.  

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Philip Alexander

    It's always been the responsibility of the rolling stock manufacturers to comply with NR's electrical and signalling apparatus lineside. So why now is NR having to do an about turn and help out Hitachi? Surely not ministerial interference for some reason? Something about not upsetting Hitachi? Why?

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