Network Rail ploughs ahead with £1.7m winter fleet refurbishment.(Network Rail)

Network Rail ploughs ahead with £1.7m winter fleet refurbishment

Refurbished Independent plough on journey from Derby to Scotland.(Network Rail Image)

Network Rail is refurbishing its snow ploughs for the first time in 20 years to improve performance and reliability.

The full service refurbishment programme goes beyond business-as-usual maintenance, overhauling and modernising the ploughs to the highest specifications.

The work will ensure the ploughs maintain and improve their effectiveness for the next 15 to 20 years. It is part of a wider programme of investment in operational fleet by Network Rail’s Route Services directorate.

Following a competitive tender, Network Rail selected Loram UK as its delivery partner to carry out the overhauls and reengineering at the rail fleet specialist’s Derby facility.

Network Rail’s 12 pairs of Independent snow ploughs, which can plough snow up to a depth of eight feet (2.4m), are being refurbished one pair at a time, with four pairs completed so far. Overhauls of the Independent ploughs started in January 2018 and are expected to last for at least a further 12 months.

The snow ploughs remove heavy snow from the railway tracks safely and efficiently and are propelled by locomotives owned by freight operating companies. They are part of the infrastructure company’s wider fleet designed to help keep the railway running in winter weather.

Mike Black, supply chain services director for Route Services, Network Rail, said: “We are investing £600m in our fleet and depots from 2019 to 2024 so that we can effectively support our customers in the routes. Overhauling our snow ploughs is one of many ways we will be improving our fleet and its maintenance over the coming years for greater reliability.”

A programme to overhaul Network Rail’s Bielhack ploughs will begin later this year.

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