Lightning Damages Rail Signals

Lightning damages the rail signals on Cambridge to Newmarket line

damage rail system

Lightning damaged a railway signalling system overnight, causing disruption to Greater Anglia services.

The damage, to equipment between Cambridge and Dullingham, meant all lines were blocked between Cambridge and Newmarket in Suffolk. Ipswich to Cambridge services terminated at Newmarket and a rail replacement bus service was operating.

Engineers worked to repair "multiple faults", a Network Rail spokesperson said. All lines had reopened by lunchtime, but some disruption was expected on Wednesday afternoon as services returned to normal. 

About 22,000 lightning strikes were detected across the eastern region on the Wednesday 24 July 2019

How the industry is reducing delays caused by lightning strikes

  • Installing “surge arrest” equipment to prevent lightning strikes from damaging signalling equipment
  • Trialling a system which accurately identifies the location of lightning strikes almost immediately, enabling deployment of staff to the site more quickly and reducing the impact on train services
  • Using historic data to predict which areas are at the most risk of lightning strikes and ensure that stores are fully stocked with parts which are likely to be damaged
  • Until the damaged parts are replaced and tested, the signaller will keep trains moving by making direct contact with the driver of every train passing the affected area

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