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Old 12th August 2019
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Re: Do We Rely Too Much on Electricity?

Originally Posted by Harold Gough View Post
What I want to know is what the engineers have to do to start an electric locomotive.

As I understand it the pantographs need compressed air to keep them in the raised position. The air compressors need electricity to maintain the air supply. A short term power failure wouldn't cause a problem but after a few minutes the air supply becomes exhausted and the pantographs drop.

I am not sure how the pantographs are raised on a non-powered train, and whether hand pumping is still an option, but the usual procedure is to send a diesel locomotive to provide electric power and/or to haul the failed train to its destination. That is straightforward if only one or two trains fail but becomes rather more complicated where the whole network is at a standstill.

I believe there were also problems with signalling owing to the lack of power. Semaphore signals would run for a week or more on a single fill of lamp oil!

I suppose this is what we call progress.

Naughty Nigel

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