2021-02-22 18:07:03 UTC
A year after it went live, NR have finally issued some PR about the
innovation which allowed Cardiff to go live with significantly reduced
In a world first, electric resistant paint combined with voltage-controlled
clearance (VCC) has helped make a Victorian railway bridge usable by new
electric trains, avoiding weeks of passenger disruption and train delays in
Richard Stainton, engineering expert, Network Rail said:
"Intersection Bridge – situated in the centre of Cardiff, on the Wales
route – is a prime example. The structure is too low to safely fit all the
"Ordinarily, this would force Network Rail to demolish it and rebuild it at
a greater height to keep electric trains a safe distance away from the
bridge as they pass under, and stop them from electrifying the bridge
itself, or anything on it."
In this case however, Network Rail used electric-resistant paint - a unique
coating applied to the underside of the bridge.
This is a new technology that has been developed with the University of
It was used alongside specially developed lineside kit, including: surge
arresters and insulated bridge arms, to insulate the bridge from
electricity and make it safe for electric trains to pass under.
In a world first, the electric resistant paint was combined with
voltage-controlled clearance (VCC) which allowed the electrical clearance
gap to be reduced by 20mm from the overhead line equipment (OLE) to the
bridge, and 70mm from the OLE to the trains roofs.
This meant around £40m of savings as the bridge did not need to be knocked
down to start from scratch.
Peter Smith-Jaynes, regional asset manager, electrification, Wales &
"It's a really complex situation at Cardiff Intersection Bridge.
"It's a very busy rail-over-rail bridge, with a canal underneath that, and
it's surrounded by high-rise buildings. Just accessing the bridge would
have been difficult but knocking it down and rebuilding it would have been
nearly impossible. We had to find another solution."
With a year of data to back it up, Network Rail is now developing the
solution and investigating deploying it nationally across a wide range of