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Track laying machines will speed renewals process

RAILTRACK COULD buy track laying machines to help renewal contractors speed up its track replacement programme, it emerged this week.

Previous plans to purchase a 'second squadron' for the West Coast Main Line were scrapped.

But the track operator is now planning to buy the equipment for work on the rest of the network.

Jarvis has the only track laying machine in the country (NCE 14 September). This was drafted from the West Coast Main Line to the site of the Hatfield train crash last weekend, to replace damaged track.

The £10M machine completed 2km of track renewals and ballast cleaning in atrocious weather conditions at Hatfield during the weekend storms.

The machine will stay in the area until next Tuesday, when it will have completed approximately 10km of track.

Originally Railtrack had invited contractors to bid to operate and maintain track laying machines paid for by the track operator.

They would then have used the machines on the WCML.

It had planned to buy the machines because it feared contractors would be unable to deliver the track replacement on time.

But it later decided that one machine would sufficient to complete the WCML modernisation work. Jarvis had bought its machine specifically for the WCML work.

Subsequently senior Railtrack managers took over plans to purchase further machines for use on the rest of the network. These plans depend on the Rail Regulator's maintenance and renewals requirements.

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