Rail vehicle development centre opens for business

Network Rail has opened a rail vehicle development centre in Nottinghamshire.

The infrastructure operator is investing over £100m in new, more efficient machinery and engineering technologies for renewals and maintenance work on Britain's railways. It will use the newly-restored track, a former colliery line, to carry out development work as well as acceptance trials which have to be completed whenever new equipment is introduced to the network.

The new development centre includes 10 miles of track between High Marnham and Thoresby colliery junction, which was selected for its strategic location, relatively good condition and the ease in which it could be re-connected to the national rail network via the Robin Hood line. It includes many common characteristics found on the rail network: a signalling system, calibrated curves and has a maximum linespeed of 50mph. The track is mostly single line railway with three miles of double track, and has the potential to be upgraded to a higher linespeed of up to 75mph.

The facility will also be used for training, providing a safe and realistic environment for engineers to get to grips with new machinery and develop new, more efficient ways of working.

Jerry England, Network Rail’s engineering director, said: “The new facility will enable our rail vehicle engineers to safely trial, optimise and commission new and modified rail vehicles and on-track plant in typical conditions, without causing disruption to the network.

"We want the centre to be a facility for the whole of the rail industry which means we can offer a service to help our industry partners reduce research and development costs, and we hope to improve the facility further if it proves popular with our industry partners."

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