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New T-Pylons deliver 21st century design for National Grid

New T-pylons have been erected at the National Grid’s training academy at Eakring in Nottinghamshire, bringing the project even closer to completion.

Balfour Beatty carried out the site preparation, built the foundations, and erected the T-pylon at Eakring. Mabey Bridge, leading specialist steel manufacturer, constructed the monopole and T-cross sections of the T-pylons, and completed the structure’s final painting at its South Wales factory.

The T-pylon design emerged the victor in an international competition to locate a modern-era design to support high voltage overhead lines. Danish architects and engineering company Bystrup came up with the winning design, which is 35 metres high, making it approximately one-third shorter than the typical steel lattice pylon.

The Pylon Design competition was run by National Grid, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, and the Royal Institute of British Architects. Energy secretary Chris Huhne described the winning design as “simple, classical, and practical.”

He explained that its unique structure will make it much smaller and shorter than existing pylons and, as a result, less intrusive. The current pylon model has not changed since the 1920s, and since more will be needed to connect new energy sources to homes and businesses, they needed an attractive redesign.

A group of six of the new-design T-pylons will be constructed, with each one engineered to accomplish a different task on the transmission network:

  •  A pair of standard suspension pylons that are designed to carry the cables in a straight line
  •  A pair of terminal diamond pylons that take the cables underground or complete a line at a substation
  •  A D30 pylon that can support the increased weight and operating pressure of turning the cables at angles of up to 30 degrees
  •  An F10 flying angle suspension pylon capable of 10-degree turns- the first time that a pylon of this type has been used in the country
  •  A gantry terminal, which performs the same function as the diamond terminal pylon but is an alternate terminal pylon design

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National Grid has collaborated with other engineers and partners since the design competition concluded in 2011, aiming to turn the winning concept into a reality and confirm that the design could safely handle all of the stresses placed on a pylon.

According to Mr David Wright, who directs electricity transmission asset management at National Grid, the company has been able to reply in the affirmative to the hundreds of questions that must be asked before a new type of pylon can be introduced.

He said that the training line has enabled National Grid to be learn several lessons about how to manufacture and construct the T-pylon, adding he was proud of the high engineering standards that supported such progress.

He explained that the new pylon style was developed so that a 21st century design could act as the blueprint for new transmission routes. The T-pylon is not intended as a replacement for the traditional steel lattice pylon but it’s a new option especially suitable for landscapes requiring a pylon with shorter height and a sleeker appearance.

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