Balfour Beatty has been awarded a four-year contract for the operations and maintenance of Network Rail’s fleet of track maintenance machines, known as ‘Stoneblowers’. The contract will deliver a minimum of 2,800 maintenance shifts per year across the UK rail network and includes the option to extend for an additional year. The value of the contract is over £40 million (EUR 45.1 million).
Early in 2017 Network Rail placed an order for seven new Multi-Purpose machines to replace the aging Plain Line fleet. All seven Multi-Purpose machines will be delivered during the term of the contract with the first one entering service in 2020. Balfour Beatty will be responsible for providing the highly skilled crews required to operate the new Multi-Purpose machines on delivery and recruitment will commence early in 2019. Balfour Beatty will assist Network Rail and the Original Equipment Manufacturer with the commissioning of the new machines.
Stoneblowers maintain the track by pneumatically injecting small stone under the sleepers filling the voids and stabilizing the track. The current Stoneblower fleet consists of 14 operational machines – 11 Plain Line machines allocated to specific geographical areas throughout the UK rail network and three Multi-Purpose machines which operate across all areas of the network.