Network Rail makes £36 million investment in new grinding trains
Network Rail’s new grinding trains are faster, more efficient and cheaper to run, and will help keep passenger and freight trains operating smoothly and safely…
Credit: Network Rail
Three new grinding trains have been unveiled by Network Rail. Costing £36 million, they will be deployed across Great Britain to keep the track in good condition and provide passengers with a smooth, reliable journey.
The multi-million pound trains, which remove small layers of metal from the railhead, represent a significant investment for Network Rail route services who worked with industry partners Loram and Colas Rail to design, build and maintain the new, improved models.
The three trains will replace a number of older grinding machines that are coming to the end of their life. The new models cost £1,000 less per shift to run, deliver 35 per cent more output, have increased reliability, better welfare facilities for the teams working on them and are expected to last for the next 30 years.
Improved grinding machines
Leevan Finney, Project Manager at Network Rail, said: “This has been a fantastic example of different parts of the rail industry working together to deliver new and innovative solutions which ultimately improve the railway for passengers. By working together we have been able to deliver a safer, more cost-effective, productive machine which also provides a more comfortable working environment for our employees.”
Susan Cooklin, Managing Director for Network Rail route services said: “Route services are here to provide the routes with the best equipment possible to help keep their railways running. The old machines were becoming unreliable and inefficient so the investment in the new grinding trains was absolutely essential to keep the tracks in good condition, minimising the chance of defects and keeping passengers safely moving across the network.
“We have been able to create an impressive new design using state of the art technology and innovation; helping maintain our railways for years to come.”
Benefits of the new fleet
The new fleet of 150m grinding trains have many advantages over the old models. With a life of 30 years minimum, these machines are more sustainable and cost effective. The life span can also be increased through timely maintenance. More productive grinding at higher speeds of up to 15mph enables increased metal removal, and an increased transit speed of up to 70mph to get around the network means fewer passengers and freight services are impacted.
The machines are modular and therefore can be attached together to make a larger machine or can remain smaller to be more targeted. The modular design also means replacement of parts and components can happen much quicker which in turn reduces down time of the machine.
They can carry more water to dowse which prevents smouldering. Obstacle avoidance systems are also present to limit the impact of track side furniture and equipment.
Full welfare facilities on board mean a more comfortable working environment for the teams as well as improved working with third rail areas.
Two of the three machines are already out on track and the largest one will be in service over the Christmas period, after it completes its dynamic testing.