GARRY KEENOR, GROUP ENGINEER, ELECTRIFICATION FOR ATKINS EXPLAINS HOW MODELLING WORK ENABLED THE LINESPEED FOR ELECTRIC TRAINS THROUGH STEVENTON TO BE RAISED
Of the numerous challenges facing the Great Western electrification programme, one of the most significant was Steventon. This village in Oxfordshire on the Great Western main line between Didcot and Swindon became notorious because of the difficulties presented by the High Street bridge and an adjacent level crossing.
Contrary to popular belief, the issue is not one of electrical clearances at the bridge itself. The challenge with electrification at Steventon was caused by the need for the contact wire to pass under the low span of the bridge and then rise to provide sufficient clearance for Stocks Lane level crossing, just 399 metres away. Statutory minimum heights for contact wires at level crossings are at least 5.8 metres, causing a change in contact wire height of almost two metres over this short distance.