Network Rail is set to roll out ‘faster safer isolations’ technology across the South Western Railway route to bring about improvements in the vital rail maintenance process.

With the new technology, workers will get an additional 1,600 hours every year for carrying out work related to overnight maintenance and renewal.

It will allow for a safer way to turn off the power on the railway line and eliminates typical outdated and laborious practice of manual strapping, which involves about 2,500 work hours a year at present.

More than 20 members of Network Rail staff are injured every year in the UK while using the traditional manual strapping method.

“More than 20 members of Network Rail staff are injured every year in the UK while using the traditional manual strapping method.”

Network Rail plans to install more than 450 of the devices required for this technology by March. Another 400 will be installed over the coming three years.

As part of the safer approach, one person is required to drive out to a local control panel to operate a series of switches.

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The approach reduces the time staff come into contact with the live railway.

Network Rail Wessex route managing director Becky Lumlock said: “The window of time where our track staff are able to work on the railway overnight is one of the shortest in Britain, with the last and first train times on a weekday night of typically 1:00am and 4:30am.

“This incredible time-saving technology will allow us to be more productive in this short window so we can carry out more vital maintenance work on our railway, giving our passengers more reliable journeys.”

The technology has been successfully trialled in the Guildford area and is now planned to be rolled out across the network.