Network Rail has introduced three new grinding trains that will be used to maintain railway tracks across the UK, and ensure smooth and reliable services.
With a £36m investment, the trains will replace a number of older grinding machines following the end of their operating life.
These vehicles are said to deliver cost-effective benefits to the operator and 35% more output than the existing units.
Network Rail worked with industry partners Loram and Colas Rail to design, build and maintain the improved models.
Network Rail project manager Leevan Finney said: “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 people to work in.”
The new 150m-long grinding trains are expected to operate for the next 30 years.
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Capable of travelling at a speed of 70mph, the units offer increased metal removal due to more productive grinding at speeds of up to 15mph.
The vehicles exhibit a modular design to enable quick replacement of parts and equipment. They also feature obstacle avoidance system to minimise the impact of trackside furniture and equipment.
Network Rail route services Susan Cooklin said: “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 to minimise the chance of defects and to keep passengers safely moving across the network.”
Two grinding trains are already out on the track while the third unit is expected to commence service over the Christmas period after completing dynamic testing.