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Network Rail prepares for winter

Network Rail has unveiled a number of initiatives in Scotland, including a new £1M winter weather engineering train and insulated points heater strips, in a bid to overcome delays due to winter snow.

Severe weather in the past two winters has caused major havoc across Scotland’s rail network. Ice and snow build up on points - sections of track which can be moved to allow trains to pass from one line to another - can cause metal components to freeze and prevent them operating.

Network Rail route managing director David Simpson for Scotland said the firm is working closely with its industry partners and government to ensure the service is robust as possible this winter

The company will also be using a helicopter to thermal image the network to identify spots where severe weather could take hold and more off-road vehicles are being made available to the company’s engineers.

Network Rail winter measures

  • Trialling a new system of insulating points heater strips which will help them work for longer in the worst of the winter weather
  • Fitting snow displacers at selected points to stop snow building up between the point ends and blocking the points
  • Reducing the ballast depth beneath sets of points to prevent the metal components sticking to the stones below during periods of prolonged sub-zero temperatures
  • Using NASA-grade insulation material currently used on space suits to insulate the inside of points machines to help prevent water building up or freezing inside them
  • Installing current monitors at various sets of points to check changes in power and warn when points are starting to fail

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