Network Rail buys ballast blaster

Network Rail has placed an order worth £41.7m with Austria’s Plasser and Theurer for an 800m, 3,200 tonne High Output Ballast Cleaner.

Network Rail claims the machine, the third such system to operate on the UK rail network, will significantly reduce the time it takes to renew ballast, a process that helps drainage and maintains correct track levels and alignment.

The order is said to form part of a £101m investment programme to bring more new engineering technologies to the railway in Britain.

As part of the programme, Network Rail will soon order another high output track re-laying train to speed up the time it takes to carry out track renewals.

‘This major investment in new technology will reduce the time it takes to carry out important ballast cleaning work,’ said Network Rail’s Director, Infrastructure Investment, Simon Kirby. ‘We are always looking for ways to carry out maintenance and engineering work quicker, smarter and more efficiently and keep any disruption to passenger and freight services to a minimum.’