Type of railway junction
Flying junction: with a bridge, trains do not block each other
A flying junction or flyover is a railway junction at which one or more diverging or converging tracks in a multiple-track route cross other tracks on the route by bridge to avoid conflict with other train movements. A more technical term is "grade-separated junction". A burrowing junction or dive-under occurs where the diverging line passes below the main line.
The alternative to grade separation is a level junction or flat junction, where tracks cross at grade, and conflicting routes must be protected by interlocked signals.
Fretin triangle in France: Each side is over 3 km (2 mi) long. A grade-separated wye
trains cross the junction at 300 km/h (186 mph).
Simple flying junctions may have a single track pass over or under other tracks to avoid conflict, while complex flying junctions may have an elaborate infrastructure to allow multiple routings without trains coming into conflict, in the manner of a highway stack interchange.
Flying junction without crossings
Where two lines each of two tracks merge with a flying junction, they can become a four-track railway together, the tracks paired by direction. This happens regularly in the Netherlands (see Examples below).
Nearly all junctions with high-speed railways are grade-separated. On the French Lignes à Grande Vitesse (TGV) high-speed network, the principal junction on the LGV Sud-Est, at Pasilly where the line to Dijon diverges, and on the LGV Atlantique at Courtalain where the line to Le Mans diverges, are fully grade-separated with special high-speed switches (points in British terminology) that permit the normal line speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) on the main line, and a diverging speed of 220 km/h (137 mph).[note 1]
The LGV network has four grade-separated high-speed triangles: Fretin (near Lille), Coubert (southeast Paris), Claye-Souilly (northeast Paris) and Angles (Avignon). A fifth, Vémars (northeast Paris), is grade-separated except for a single-track link on the least-used side, linking Paris Gare du Nord and Paris CDG airport.
- Railway junction of two main lines at Kytömaa, Kerava
- France (LGV Triangles)
- Triangle de Fretin, Lille, connecting Paris, Brussels and London
- Triangle de Coubert, Paris
- Triangle des Angles, Avignon, with two parallel 1.5-kilometre (0.93 mi) viaducts
- Triangle de Claye-Souilly, Paris, partial four-way junction
- Triangle de Vémars, Paris
- Hong Kong
There are between 25 and about 40 flying junctions on Dutch railways, depending on how more complex examples are counted.
Flying junctions where the merged lines become a four track railway:
More complex flying junctions, with tracks from four directions joining:
- United Kingdom
- Pelaw Junction where both the Tyne and Wear Metro green line to South Hylton joins the Durham Coast Line and yellow line continues to South Shields – both diverging on the bridge itself
- Springhead Junction on the North Kent Line
- Southfleet Junction on the HS1
- Norton Bridge Junction near Stone, Staffordshire
- Hamilton Square underground station, Birkenhead, on Merseyrail
- Aynho Junction in Aynho, Northamptonshire
- Worting Junction near Basingstoke, Hampshire (the flyover is called Battledown Flyover)
- Cogload Junction near Taunton
- Weaver Junction near Dutton, Cheshire
- Shortlands Junction in south London
- Northwest of Harrow-on-the-Hill, in the north London suburbs
- Hitchin flyover, Hertfordshire.
- Werrington Junction dive-under, northern suburbs of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
- Reading West Junction
- Bleach Green Viaducts & Junction, Whiteabbey, Northern Ireland
- United States
- Northeast U.S. (Amtrak)
- Boston, Massachusetts area
- Chicago, Illinois
- On the Chicago "L", where Orange Line trains diverge from Green Line trains north of 18th Street, as well as underground where a non-revenue flying junction separates Red Line trains heading to 95th from those heading to the South Side main line, currently used to send some rush-period Red Line trains to Ashland/63rd.
- The Milwaukee–Dearborn subway (now part of the Blue Line) was constructed to have a flying junction where turning between Lake Street and Milwaukee Avenue at Canal Street. The outbound tunnel and its stub, designed to continue west under Lake Street, was bored at less depth than the inbound tunnel and its Lake Street stub, in order to allow future Lake Street trains (now part of the Green and (Pink Lines) to run under or over the opposing Milwaukee Avenue trains while entering or exiting the shared portion of the Lake Street tunnels. Plans in 1939 called for tunnels to replace the elevated Lake Street tracks east of approximately Racine Avenue. By 1962, the planned Lake Street tunnels to/from Racine Avenue would have curved south to Randolph Street and bypassed the Milwaukee-Lake-Dearborn tunnel entirely.
- Another flying junction is under construction immediately north of Belmont/Sheffield to increase capacity on the Red Line, Brown Line, and Purple Line Express.
- Denver, Colorado
- On the Regional Transportation District in Denver between the Southeast Corridor and the I-225 Corridor: the Southeast Corridor is on the west side of I-25 and the I-225 Corridor is in the median of I-225. The grade separations of the junction are woven into the grade separations of the interchange between the two highways.
- New York, New York
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- San Francisco Bay Area, California
- Washington, District of Columbia
- All main-line connections on the Washington Metro – adjacent to the Pepco power plant on Benning Road (near the Stadium-Armory station) is a large three-track structure with a turnback pocket where the Blue, Silver and Orange Lines meet. This would have been part of the Oklahoma Avenue station, had it been built. South of the King Street station in Alexandria is a series of tunnels where the Blue and Yellow Lines meet. There are also flying junctions near three underground rail stations: Rosslyn (Blue, Silver, and Orange Lines), L'Enfant Plaza (Green and Yellow lines), and the Pentagon (Blue and Yellow lines).