Network Rail: Tackling Winter Works at Christmas

Darren Scott

December 7, 2017

Last week, Network Rail released details of their plans to tackle any snow and ice that may come this Christmas and with temperatures plummeting, ice can stop power reaching trains, freeze rails together and damage overhead wiring. Preparation for winter weather includes making sure the track is clear, with no overhanging trees, no icicles at tunnel entrances, and spare parts delivered where needed for assets sensitive to snow and ice. Fences on major routes prevent snow blowing onto the tracks.

The network has a fleet of machines, from snow ploughs to specially developed Snow and Ice Treatment Trains which occupy depots across Britain and can be deployed where needed when ice and snow are forecast.

‘Team Orange’ patrol the tracks day and night to clear snow and ice from junctions and tunnels, while a helicopter fitted with thermal imaging identifies points heaters that aren’t working effectively. Heaters are attached to points to prevent ice forming, and there are protective covers on 4,000 points and 2,500 points motors to keep out snow.

Whilst many sites across the country will be in shut down over the Christmas period, Network Rail has 32,000 men and women working around the clock to deliver more reliable infrastructure, reduced journey times and improved facilities for passengers when they return to work in the New Year.

As the network’s £50bn Railway Upgrade Plan reaches its final stages, 260 projects are due to be delivered across 3,400 worksites throughout Britain over the holiday period with most of the investment work scheduled for when no trains are planned to run, such as on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Upgrades to a few vital projects begin on the 23rd December giving engineers four clear days to make significant progress on major projects that will deliver numerous passenger benefits.

Click here to learn more about Network Rail’s Upgrade plan.

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