UK: Network Rail has signed a contract for Windhoff Bahn- und Anlagentechnik to build a £35m custom-designed 'factory train' which will enable the rapid installation of overhead electrification.

Announcing the contract on December 2, the infrastructure manager said the 23-vehicle High Output Plant System 'will revolutionise how railway lines are electrified'.

The train will complete foundations and stanchions and install and test the overhead line equipment as it moves. It is expected to be able to electrify an average of 1·6 km of track per night, a 'significantly higher rate' than previously achievable, while allowing adjacent tracks to remain open. NR expects this to reduce construction times, disruption and cost.

German maintenance vehicle specialist Windhoff will build the vehicles to a specification which NR has developed over the last three years. The first deployment will be on the Great Western Main Line electrification project, which is due to get underway from late 2013.

  • Network Rail's factory train concept was described in the April 2010 issue of Railway Gazette International, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.