Network Rail will use cutting edge technology to fix track defects during Control Period 6 (CP6), through its Plain Line Pattern Recognition (PLPR).
During the next five-year funding period, which is set to start in April 2019, Network Rail’s PLPR will cover approximately 975,000 miles of track throughout Britain’s railways.
The five monitoring trains will boost Network Rail’s capacity, using PLPR to identify, monitor and record track condition information.
By finding track defects such as missing fasteners, ineffective rail clamps and excess ballast, Network Rail’s technology will reduce any delays caused by track defaults, safety will be increased and ultimately, it will save millions of pounds.
The New Measurement Train (NMT) will be one of the five monitoring trains; it is the world’s most technically advanced train of its type and with cameras mounted underneath all five trains, imagery will be captured every 0.8mm, taking approximately 70,000 images each second.
All potential defects will be sent to the PLPR facility based in Derby where closer examinations will be undertaken.
If any defects are confirmed, Network Rail will ensure local track section managers are identified so that engineers are able to be more effective when targeting track maintenance.
The technology will bring a fundamental change during CP6; the PLPR-equipped trains are now in place of manual inspections on 8,500 miles of track.
Now, inspections will be handled more efficiently and will prevent the need for employees to unnecessarily visit tracks, therefore improving health and safety of employees too.
Steve Quinby, Network Rail’s Head of Delivery for Asset Information Services, said: “PLPR is fundamental in helping us to be safer and more efficient. In January, we opened a second PLPR facility in Derby that increases our capacity and resilience to monitor, inspect and fix track faults, to the ultimate benefit of passengers.”
It is yet further evidence of Network Rail using advances in technology to ensure CP6 runs as smoothly as possible.