Moxon Architects is in talks with contractors after developing a ‘visually sensitive’ alternative to overhead line structures (OLS) on the railway.
The practice worked with engineer Mott MacDonald on two prototypes for the OLS infrastructure, which supports the tracks’ power lines. The partners claim their design is ready for use on High Speed 2.
Moxon, which has studios in west London and Aberdeenshire, was originally named as one of the finalists in a RIBA-run competition for a new gantry system back in 2014.
The latest design integrates structural and electrical protection requirements into one component, and aims to reduce height and visual clutter. A densified wood laminate is used in the structure’s cantilevered arm.
Moxon and Mott MacDonald say their system is relatively short, attractive, quick to erect, lightweight, simple to maintain and low in embodied carbon compared with standard designs. A spokesman said they were in talks with rail contractors over the product.
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Moxon director Ben Addy said: ‘Railway catenary systems can have an enormous effect on the appearance of high speed and conventional railway lines as they pass through the landscape.
‘Our integrated OLS substantially reduces the visual impact of these systems, allowing them to sit more harmoniously within their environment.’
Mott MacDonald director Brian Duguid added: ‘Our integrated OLS system has been designed to be fully compatible with existing, proven overhead catenary hardware for both conventional and high-speed railways, including HS2 in the UK.
‘The design development has created a structure which is quick and simple to erect and able to achieve high installation rates. We have successfully completed two full-scale prototypes to confirm the system’s practicality and look forward to working with interested partners to introduce it onto working railway systems.’