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Network Rail’s solid investment in new ballast cleaner

Network Rail’s solid investment in new ballast cleaner

11/03/2008 | Channel: Rolling Stock, Products & Services

Network Rail took another significant step in its drive to improve the way it carries out engineering and maintenance works this month by ordering a new ballast cleaning system.

Built by Austrian rail engineering firm Plasser and Theurer, the 800 metre, 3200 tonne High Output Ballast Cleaner works on the tracks’ ballast foundation and will significantly reduce the time it takes to renew ballast. It will be the third such system to operate on the network.

The huge yellow machine slashes the time it takes to clean and replace track ballast, and is capable of cleaning around 600 hundred yards of track ballast during a typical midweek eighthour night-shift. Ballast cleaning is essential for the safe running of the railway as it helps drainage and maintains correct track levels and alignment making journeys smoother for passengers.

The £41.7 million order forms part of a major £101 million investment programme to bring more new engineering technologies to the railway in Britain. This will allow Network Rail to be more efficient in maintaining, renewing and enhancing the network.

As part of the programme, Network Rail will also soon be ordering another high output track re-laying train to speed up the time it takes to carry out track renewals.

Network Rail’s director, infrastructure investment, Simon Kirby, said: “This major investment in new technology will reduce the time it takes to carry out important ballast cleaning work. It forms part of an exciting programme which will bring more innovative engineering equipment and ways of working to our network.

“We are always looking for ways to carry out maintenance and engineering work quicker, smarter and more efficiently and keep any disruption to passenger and freight services to a minimum.”