Network Rail announced yesterday that they have ordered 26 specialised tilting wagons to help with the modularisation of points replacement.
Network Rail’s modular switches and crossings programme will help engineers renew a set of points in overnight eight-hour possessions, reducing disruption caused to passengers. Currently, it takes around 54 hours to carry out this work, often requiring weekend line closures.
In the programme, points will be fully constructed and tested in factories before being taken to site in modular panels which can be installed quickly. Being factory built will also improve their reliability and durability.
However these panels are normally too wide to fit within the confines of the railway when transported horizontally. The wagons' ability to tilt their loads means that these panels can be safely transported directly to site at an angle. When the wagons arrive on site, the deck of the wagon is moved back to a horizontal position for the panels to be unloaded and slotted into place.
Network Rail’s chief engineer Andrew McNaughton said: "The modular programme is set to deliver big benefits in the way we upgrade the railway, enabling us to do it quicker and more efficiently while improving quality and reliability. Being able to deliver fully-constructed switch-panels directly to site will be a significant step forward towards the seven-day railway for passengers and freight users."
Network Rail expects the first wagons to be fully tested and ready for use by autumn 2009, with the full fleet of 26 vehicles in operation in 2010.