Catenary Support Eyesores

The Government has announced recently that £billions will be spent on UK Transport rail infrastructure. I assume that this will include the High Speed 2 plan linking London and Birmingham by electric railway. Those on the ground will always oppose the planned routes due mainly to the damaging effect on their house values.

But many also will cite visual horrors of the railway cutting through the contryside. The Lad, although an engineer, can understand that to some degree. The trains and their sounds are soon passed at any given spot. But the masts, skeletal arms and the wire arcs are permanently on display.

US array of cables
It should be possible to do better.

The Lad is not a catenary support designer but, in the UK, notes that it appears that standard RSJ uprights and other ugly components have been flung together. The idea?? of using standard parts or RSJ material is assumed to be the best way to achieve cost-effective structures. There does not appear to be any thought for the visual effect. See the pictures, which come from the excellent website, with the kind permission of its author Jeff Wood of San Francisco.

Second view of wire and mast array
Let’s design aesthetically better designs than this.

The Lad advocates a more holistic design. special components, possibly multi-use, could not only look better but also, he is sure, be more structurally and dynamically efficient. The cost of specially designed parts would not be more expensive. Why? Because in the hundreds of miles of line lengths there are multiple tracks and so there would be thousands of each given component. What happens to properly designed, component cost with large quantities? It plummets.

This post is The Lad’s quick response to a problem that has been irritating him in the back of his mind for some years. I will develop a strategy to try and move the idea forward. I will try to find the movers and shakers in this area and see if he can begin any sort of dialogue. The Lad will keep the blog in touch with any progress or none as transpires.

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