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Five things you didn’t know about our fleet

Our fleet of vehicles and machinery works hard all year round.

It plays a crucial role in keeping the railway safe for passengers and freight operators, such as each autumn, when 61 specialist trains and vehicles minimise the impact of leaf fall and help reduce the chances of delays.

The broader fleet’s coverage includes infrastructure monitoring, maintaining and renewing tracks, and inspecting and clearing drainage.

A railhead treatment train, new measurement vehicle and multi-purpose vehicle

Here are five things you didn’t know about our fleet:

  • Our fleet teams have 24/7, 365-day access to a helpline to support moving them around the network, helping to manage when incidents occur, as well as to report the critical information directly across the network including each Route Operating Control.
  • Measuring up to about a kilometre, our High Output ballast cleaner is the longest train on our network. The ballast cleaner can get up to this length when we shunt two trains together on site.
  • We own more than 1,000 wagons and lease thousands more. These mainly carry aggregates such as ballast and remove waste from work sites. They’re typically hauled by locomotives owned by freight operating companies (FOC), but some are part of High Output convoys instead. Among our wagons, there are box wagons to remove waste; autoballaster wagons with ‘trap doors’ at the base that release ballast directly beneath, onto the track; and tilting wagons to position switches and crossings during track renewal work.
  • Our rail delivery trains can each deliver up to 32 rails a night. The rails are up to 216 metres long and most are used by our High Output Track re-laying system, which lays track super-fast.
  • Not all our fleet teams use machines that run on rails. Our Air Operations team makes use of a helicopter and unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs, or drones). We also have on-track plant that can travel on the roads as well as the railway. Examples include diggers, vehicles to inspect and clear drainage, mobile flashbutt welders (to weld the rails), track movers (which pick up and move track), and some of the vehicles we use to inspect and renew overhead wires.

Our fleet: machines and vehicles

Our leaf-busting operation

Seasonal track treatment and weather support fleet

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