Railway safety and crime

05.07.19

Network Rail award £2.6m drone repair contracts

Network Rail has handed contracts totalling £2.6m to several firms to supply, maintain and repair its drones.

The company has a fleet of 24 drones to assist maintenance teams in surveying the railways for repairs.

Supplying the equipment will be Heliguy and Buzzflyer, servicing will be provided by Plowman Craven, Bridgway Aerial, Richard Allitt Associates and UKDN Waterflow.

Some of the contractors; Heliguy, UAV8 and Cyberhawk, will be providing flight training to Network Rail staff.

Ruairi Hardman, business development manager at Heliguy, said: “We are extremely proud to have been awarded a national framework agreement with Network Rail for the provision of UAS/drone equipment, maintenance, servicing, repairs and training.

“This contract award with Network Rail is the largest of its type in the UK and as such is a testament to our ability to deliver such projects at this level.

“The whole team at Heliguy is delighted to work with Network Rail’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) programme.”

This is the second batch of drone contracts Network Rail have awarded, the first being in 2015.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Drones represent a cost-effective way of inspecting and maintaining the UK’s rail infrastructure, while keeping the railway open and reducing the need for manual inspections.”

Network Rail intend to expand their group of drones and train new pilots each year, until the unmanned aircraft are mainstream in rail maintenance.

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