Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

OK, so I’m a little strange

Posted in Commuter, Great Britain by Chairman Pip on 22 January 2010

Thameslink is a dual voltage route, with 25kV AC current taken through overhead wires north of Farringdon, and 750V DC current through a third rail to the south. As a consequence, the trains also need to be dual voltage to operate along the length of the route (currently Class 319 and Class 377/5). It is at Farringdon that the switchover occurs, and which sees the pantograph either raised or lowered. Now, I use St Pancras a lot, often times heading south, and so I often indulge in a silly practice – I always get into the carriage with the pantograph, and make sure that I sit directly underneath it, so that, when the train reaches Farringdon, I can hear the thump as it is retracted, and then look around to see if anyone has noticed and sounds alarmed. Indeed, while on a journey once, the train stopped at Farringdon, the pantograph came down with a thump, and my travelling companion indeed looked alarmed. So I simply said, in a sort of casually disinterested way, “pantograph”. Of course, I’d chosen exactly where to sit just for that reason, a confession I can make here because I know that she’ll read this (eventually).


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