Known as the Flying Banana, the measuring train will now be maintained by Loram UK as part of a five-year contract worth £8m. The contract was awarded back in December after a number of competitors put themselves forward. However, Loram UK will maintain the distinctive yellow train at its Derby facility.
This depot has been used since 2010 where other infrastructure monitoring trains have been maintained. This New Measurement Train is designed to monitor and record the condition of the track at speeds of up to 125mph, making it the fastest train within the monitoring fleet of Network Rail. It will also identify faults on the track in order to prevent them from becoming a serious safety concern or even affect the performance of the network.
The train is packed with high-tech measurement systems and systems that scan the tracks along with high-resolution cameras. The train is a converted Intercity high-speed train that has already travelled across the railway network for 15 years.
As the train can travel at high speeds, it means that it has the ability to cover significant distances in a single shift and over the course of the year, it covers 115,000 miles. Every 440 miles, it also captures 10TB of image data. This data is then used by engineers, enabling them to make repairs and schedule in maintenance.
As part of the infrastructure monitoring fleet operating contract, Loram UK finishes a three-month project on the New Measurement Train coaches in December. This process of overhauling the coaches takes place every four years and requires engineers to dismantle the train in its entirety, carrying out tests on all parts before making all relevant fixes and improvements before putting the train back together.
The supply chain services director of Network Rail, Mike Black has said that the contract simplifies the maintenance of the New Measurement Train. As a result, Network Rail will benefit from large savings as well as the taxpayer. What’s more, it will also ensure that the train is always maintained to the highest possible standards, enabling it to monitor the network to ensure that passengers and other railway users can travel safely.