Rail services through the region should be kept on track this Autumn thanks to creative new technology and innovation from Transport for Wales and Network Rail .
The autumn season is a challenging time for the rail industry with poor weather conditions which can damage track and trains, reducing the number of services available.
The two organisations have put a number of key plans in place to ensure customers can keep moving.
Amongst them are Transport for Wales’ Automated Intelligent Video Review cameras which sit on the front of trains and can map around a thousand miles of track in Wales in just four weeks. The data is fed to Network Rail to target problem areas earlier, reducing the risk of tree strikes, debris blocking lines, signals becoming obscured and wheel damage.
Network Rail are also using drones to help with this work and are treating tracks with a new plasma technology programme. PlasmaTrack is a new sustainable technology, that is being used to clean and sterilise track. Plasma is generated from high voltage and compressed gas to apply energy to the railhead which thermally removes contaminants such as oxidisation and leaf debris.
As well as this investment in new technology, TfW have stocked up on extra wheels for train repairs and Network Rail will have rapid response teams continually working on the track.
The work follows a successful autumn last year when TfW invested heavily in new Wheel Slide Protection on a quarter of their trains and as a result saw a 57 per cent reduction in damage and trains in for repair.
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO added:
“The Autumn season is a difficult time for the rail industry throughout the UK because of poor weather conditions and the effect this can have on our railway tracks and our trains.
“We are working in partnership with our colleagues in Network Rail to ensure we’re utilising the most up to date technology including new AIVR cameras on our trains as well as extra wheel replacements, to ensure that we’re fully prepared this year.