New advanced railway engineering techniques saved time and money at Christmas

Published on : Monday, January 11, 2016

Network RailA new approach to railway engineering this Christmas has helped reduce delays for passengers and saved taxpayer-funded Network Rail hundreds of thousands of pounds by allowing trains to run at high speed after Network Rail’s recent £150m Christmas engineering programme.


Typically, speed restrictions are put in place after major track upgrades (such as those at Purley and Acton Wells Junction) for safety reasons – perhaps to allow freshly lain ballast to settle. These speed restrictions can cause disruption to passenger journeys and cause Network Rail to incur what can be significant costs as a result of the disruption to train operators’ normal service.


But, for the first time on this scale, over Christmas and New Year 2015 some projects allowed trains to start using the railway at high speeds – in some cases as fast as 125mph – as soon as they had finished thanks to new advanced railway engineering techniques and a focus on ‘high speed handbacks’.



Track monitoring and installation practices have improved significantly in the last few years. The key to achieving a high speed handback is to ensure track is installed at each stage to its specific design tolerances, that care is taken while tamping to get the track to its final exact co-ordinates and that welding and stressing is completed as part of the core works where sufficient access is available, rather than scheduled for a later date.


This improved approach delivers significant benefits for passengers, the workforce, Network Rail, train operators and the millions of taxpayers who help fund the railway:

  • Faster trains means reduced delays and journey times for passengers
  • Staff spend less time trackside as they don’t need to set up and remove speed boards for train drivers
  • Reduced need for compensation to train operators as disruption is reduced


Interview opportunity:
Network Rail’s programme director for track, Steve Featherstone is available for interview about the new techniques and high speed handbacks. Please contact Dan Donovan in the press office to arrange.


Source:- Network Rail


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