The Elizabeth line’s purple is getting a splash of yellow, as three bright yellow maintenance engines start testing ahead of arriving in London later this year.

A new rail milling train and two multi-purpose engineering trains with bespoke machinery attachments will be delivered to London later this year, following testing in Austria.

A 48-metre long rail milling train is the first of its kind to be used in the UK rail industry. It is able to scan the rails using electromagnetic crack detection, looking for any defects. If it identifies any issues with the track, it can mill the surface of the rail to remove defects and cracks, reducing wear on the new Elizabeth line train wheels and the tracks. Metal chips will be collected in a container on the train and later recycled as scrap metal.

The milling process eliminates the problems of sparks, fire and dust created by traditional rail grinding trains, leaving a smoother surface that will provide a quieter, more comfortable ride for passengers. Using this new locomotive machine will reduce the need for major track maintenance, meaning less disruption for customers.

Manufactured by Austrian company Linsinger in Steyrermühl in Austria, it has two drivers’ cabs and space for up to four members of staff as well as a welfare facility.

The two multi-purpose engineering trains, supplied by Plasser UK can be configured to be between 40 and 80 metres long, depending on the task, with a number of modular attachments. The trains’ unique gantry system, provides the capability to change a five tonne, 35-metre switch rail within the short overnight engineering hours. The trains can also be configured for different purposes using cranes, a scissor lift for working on overhead line equipment or cabling, and a water tank and jet for drainage clearance and tunnel cleaning.

These trains will also be the main way to transport new rail, platform screen doors, station transformers and more, through the central section of the Elizabeth line once stations are complete.

They will be transported to London through the Channel Tunnel later this year.

Article last updated on June 28th, 2021 at 08:31 am


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  1. Maurice Reed says:

    It’s pitiful that we cannot build units like these in the UK anymore.

    • Ian Visits says:

      We can, but the market in the UK for these vehicles isn’t anywhere large enough to sustain a manufacturer for the UK, plus one for France, on for Germany, etc. In any area where a highly specialised product is needed, but only occasionally, it’s simply not economical to have, for example, 28 manufacturers in 28 European nations, when the market across the entire EU might support just 3 manufacturers.

      Just as we import railway maintenance locomotives, we export aircraft engines.

      Just as Brits bemoan the lack of local locomotive manufacturing, practically every other country bemoans the lack of local aircraft engine manufacturing.

      Swings and roundabouts.

    • Adam says:

      Well said Ian. Basic economics for ya!

  2. Andrew Gwilt says:

    These will be based at Romford? If that’s correct.

  3. Richard Steel says:

    Based at the new Plumstead sidings.

  4. James says:

    Will we still have Trading relations with the EU by the time these are due to come through the Chunnel?

    • Melvyn says:

      The article has later this year as delivery so should not be affected unless delayed beyond next March ..

      As for aircraft engines could be a competition for our manufacturing post Brexit to avoid import export charges every time a thingymebob passes to and from the EU !

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