Work is now underway to electrify and modernise around 170 km of track, which mostly consists of installing overhead line equipment to power our new trains
What is Overhead Line Equipment?
The metal posts and wires to power the new-tram trains are known as Overhead Line Equipment (OLE). The posts will be a little higher than the trains and connected by wires.
We’re installing these along the valleys lines ready to power our new tram trains. These will be much smoother, quieter and more environmentally friendly than the existing diesel trains.
What will the OLE look like?
The new OLE will make the valleys lines look quite different. It’s made of sturdy metal posts which are built to last.
You’ll also see that we’ll be cutting back the trees and bushes near the valleys lines more than usual to build the OLE, and to make sure that the new tram trains run safely and smoothly.
Why are you installing OLE outside my house – can't you do It elsewhere?
We need to install OLE along the valleys lines to power our new trains, and sometimes we’ll need to install OLE outside houses near the valleys lines. We can’t avoid this, as many houses back on to these lines. Where we install OLE depends on factors including bends and curves in the lines, the lay of the land and ground conditions.
We can assure you that we’re installing OLE with utmost care. And you can be sure we’re considering our neighbours living near the valleys lines, as well as the safety of our customers and employees.
Why do you need to cut back trees, bushes and other vegetation for OLE?
We need to cut back up to nine metres from the line, or to our boundary fence, whichever is closest, in order to install the OLE for our new, greener, more reliable and efficient tram trains. We only need to clear around three metres from where the OLE will be, which will then be six metres away from our boundary fence.
Woody vegetation near the line can cause many issues which can potentially lead to delays, or even accidents. This can include trees and bushes getting in the way of signals, wet leaves making the track slippery, and floods because of poor drainage.
Overhanging trees and branches need to be well away from our overhead lines as they can cause problems and make our trains late.
Once we’ve cut back, the trees and bushes we’ll also be maintaining them. The vegetation around the tracks hasn’t been maintained as closely as it should over the years. So when it’s cut back, it will be kept at this level in the future.
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