How we maintain and install overhead line equipment on the railway near you
Electric trains are better for the environment than diesel trains, and they’re quieter for both those on board the train and those living close to the railway.
We’re making it possible for electric trains to travel on more areas of the rail network by electrifying railway lines that only diesel trains can run on at the moment.
This will help support economic growth across many of our cities and towns and is a key part of the Government’s rail strategy as electrification promotes cleaner, more reliable travel and will help reduce the cost of running and maintaining the railway.
If you have a concern or question about our work that this page doesn't answer, please contact us.
What’s overhead line equipment (OLE)?
Overhead line equipment (OLE) refers to the overhead wires and supporting infrastructure that carry electricity at 25,000 volts to power electric trains.
Watch the video below to find out why and how we're electrifying the railway.
OLE and your property
Safety is our number one priority – we place new equipment in a suitable location where access can be gained in the event of a failure.
How the structures holding the overhead wires are spaced depends on design factors including the alignment of the track and how fast trains can travel on that line. Their positioning is critical to the safety and operation of the railway.
We aim to keep local residents informed of our work by writing to those living close to the railway and, where relevant, we hold public information sessions to discuss the works with local communities.
With around five million homes either backing onto or facing the railway in Britain, we are unable to consider individual requests from our lineside neighbours.
Safety is our priority when working on any part of our railway infrastructure or installing new equipment. We take the utmost care to ensure the safety of our workers, lineside neighbours and rail users at all times.
Installing new overhead line masts and wires for our programme of electrification also involves clearing vegetation from the railway (see the video below), reconstructing any bridges that are too low to fit the OLE, and piling – drilling foundations for the overhead line masts.