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Network Rail places order for £35m electrification train

Network Rail has placed an order worth £35m for a train designed to assist the Great Western main-line electrification project.

According to Network Rail, the 23-vehicle train will provide a complete electrification service as it moves along sections of track, completing foundations and stanchions to installing and testing the overhead line equipment (OLE).

The system has been under development for the last three years and will make its railway debut on the Great Western main line in autumn 2013.

The High Output Plant System, also known as a factory train, will work overnight, electrifying an average of 1.6km of track per night.

Windhoff Bahn- und Anlagentechnik, a supplier of specialist rail maintenance and improvement equipment, will custom build the train to a design that meets the performance specification developed by Network Rail engineers.

Simon Kirby, Network Rail’s managing director for investment projects, said: ‘Electrification provides a faster, more reliable, greener and economic railway and is a key part of our plans to improve the network.

‘The electrification train is an innovative piece of equipment that will deliver benefits to millions of passengers across the country.’

Readers' comments (9)

  • Will it be able to put the cable up faster than the metal thieves can take it down?
    I would be seriously tempted to stick with diesel.

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  • @Steve: Are people really stealing 25kV OLE cable? I thought it was generally signalling / other low(er)-tension stuff … which is safer to go near and cut, and generally easier to get at!

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  • Good point though. I suppose the trick is to minimise the time lag between wire installation and energising. I think the wiring train is actually seperate from the Gantry installation train.

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  • Interesting stuff. Isn't it a shame that a British company couldn't design and build such an innovative piece of kit. Disgraceful really, considering we gave the world railways in the first place.

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  • This is another British train order being given to what I think is a German company. I agree with Ed this is disgraceful and we should be ashamed of ourselves. I wonder if we get orders for engineering equipment from Germany?

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  • I agree with the comments from Ed and David; this just show how much this country has lost! Maybe this is why we are in such a sorry state now. I try to source equipment in this country, but am continually having to turn to european or eastern suppliers in order to find a supplier - very depressing, no wonder so many are put off engineering as a career.

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  • I cant really believe that the overall carbon cost of providing the overhead gantrys and wires is more cost effective long term than diesel electric power.

    Like the new proposed HST, fine concept but surely the capital and maintenance costs just dont stack up.

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  • I agree with Ed and David but we have to accept that Germany has continued to invest heavily in their rail network and therefore, their engineering expertise in this field is probably the best. As Network Rail is purchasing what will be a superb piece of kit, I feel sure that the Government will soon be announcing further electrification schemes or otherwise, it will be a complete waste of £35m.

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  • A lot is being made of how this High Output wiring train will allow 200ish route miles of the Great Western to be electrified in only 4 years. Good old British Rail manageed to wire a similar distance - Weaver Junction to Glasgow - over far more challenging terrain in a similar timscale back in the early 70s with nothing more than a flat roofed coach and a steam crane.

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