BALFOUR BEATTY has won a four-year contract for the operations and maintenance of Network Rail’s fleet of Stoneblower track maintenance machines.
The machines maintain track by pneumatically injecting stones under sleepers in a process called measured shovel packing. The current Stoneblower fleet consists of 14 operational machines – 11 plain line machines allocated to specific geographical areas and three multi-purpose machines working across the network. NR placed an order last year with Harsco for seven new multi-purpose machines to replace the plain line fleet, all of which will be delivered during the contract term, with the first entering service in 2020. BB will provide crews to operate the new machines, with recruitment due to begin early in 2019, and will also assist NR with the commissioning of the new machines. BB says the contract will deliver a minimum of 2,800 maintenance shifts per year and includes the option to extend for an additional year. The contract has already begun following a short mobilisation period.