Network Rail regulation and performance

25.04.18

High-speed handbacks could save NR £250,000 a week

New approaches to engineering could potentially save £250,000 a week by allowing trains to run at higher speeds once work is complete, Network Rail has said.

When a tamping machine is used alone to place track into position and consolidate the ballast after renewal work, there is a line speed restriction of around 5mph for a week afterwards to allow the ballast to settle.

However, Network Rail has Dynamic Track Stabilisation (DTS) technology available on some of its more advanced tampers.

This technology exerts a vertical downward force on the track whist vibrating from side to side, which helps to settle the ballast and increase track stability.

Consequently, trains are able to run at high speeds immediately after the work, reducing delays, known as ‘high-speed handback’.

Network Rail’s infrastructure projects (IP) track engineering team has been trialling the use of DTS machines on switches and crossings (S&C) for two years, measuring the force and vibration created by the DTS in order to understand the impact it would have on different types of S&C.

The first high-speed handback of S&C was in September 2016 and trials pairing DTS tampers on S&C layouts have also been successful, with two DTS tampers successfully used in parallel on a particularly complex S&C layout in February 2017.

Top image: Network Rail

 

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