£40m deal is good news for passengers

Network Rail has invested more than £40m on hi-tech equipment to speed up its engineering work.

A £41.7m contract with Plasser & Theurer for a new high output ballast cleaner will enable Network Rail to renew the railway more quickly on the West Coast Main Line, the East Coast Main Line and in Scotland. This is good news for passengers and freight companies as it will reduce the need for closures of the railway for engineering work and prevents the need for speed restrictions.

The high output ballast cleaner will operate together with a high output track relaying system. The equipment works three times faster than conventional renewals systems, allowing up to 500 metres of track, sleepers and ballast to be replaced each night.

The purchase is in support of Network Rail’s CP4 submission and the 7-day railway concept that demands high output plain line renewals on selected main lines where demand is high and access is at a premium.

The £41.7m purchase includes:

  • 1 ballast cleaner
  • 2 power wagons
  • 44 MFS wagons
  • 1 compaction machine
  • 1 consolidation machine

The contract was signed on 5 February and the equipment will be ready for production in 2010. It will then undertake testing and commissioning work for up to eight weeks.

The purchase forms the first part of the System 4 project, which has an overall cost of £101m and comprises this high output ballast cleaning system, a track relaying system and associated track infrastructure and support.