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'A more reliable railway infrastructure' for Surrey and Hampshire

3 minute read
'A more reliable railway infrastructure' for Surrey and Hampshire

Published at 8:11am 28th November 2018. (Updated at 8:45am 28th November 2018)

Surrey and Hampshire commuters are being promised less disruption on the trains as new technology is rolled out across the South Western Railway network.

After a succesful trial in Guildford, Network Rail is putting in place - for the first time in the UK - measures which will allow more time for maintenance work.

They say it will result in a more reliable infrastructure - and fewer delays.

The technology allows for a more efficient and safer way of turning off power on the line - giving track workers an extra 1,600 hours - or 66 days - a year to carry out maintenance and renewal work.

Network Rail says it allows for a more efficient, safer way to turn off the power on the railway line.

Known as 'faster safer isolations,' it will replace the outdated and laborious practice of 'manual strapping' which typically requires two people having to walk out onto the live railway line, carrying more than 30kg of kit.

The new approach requires one person to drive out to a local control panel, away from the live railway, and operate a series of switches.

Currently, around 2,500 work hours a year are spent doing manual strapping on this part of the railway.

Becky Lumlock, route managing director for Network Rail's Wessex route, said:

"The window of time where our track staff are able to work on the railway overnight is one of the shortest in Britain, with the last and first train times on a weekday night of typically 1:00am and 4:30am.

"This incredible time saving technology will allow us to be more productive in this short window so we can carry out more vital maintenance work on our railway, giving our passengers more reliable journeys."

Network Rail said it also safer for workers. Across the country more than 20 members of staff are injured each year when using the traditional manual strapping method to turn off the power.

More than 450 of the devices required for this technology will be installed across Surrey and Hampshire's rail network by March next year, with a further 400 to be installed over the coming three years.

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