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Network Rail launches drone maintenance framework

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Network Rail has published a prior information notice (PIN) for its upcoming Unmanned Aircraft System framework.

The framework covers infrastructure inspections and maintenance checks to be carried out on the network via drones.

The three to five year framework will cover:

  • Structures/ canopies including bridge surveys
  • Embankment/ culvert checks
  • Overhead Line Equipment (OLE)
  • Post incident condition inspections e.g. following adverse weather, incidents, etc.
  • Security surveys

The framework is also seeking a drone pilot training partner, as well as a drone supplier. The framework is split into five lots with a total value of £2.6M.

Earlier this year, Transport for London awarded its first long-term drone licence for maintenance work. Lanes Rail became the first contractor to win a long-term drone licence, allowing the firm to use drones to carry out asset surveys.

Likewise, SenSat was previously chosen by the Department for Transport as the UK Government’s Pathfinder partner to develop drone technology for infrastructure maintenance.

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