How we build a rail line

While our team is busy constructing an upgraded rail line, lots of specialist machinery is now operating, including flash butt welders, tamping machines and the arrival of the ballast train.

A train carrying ballast

Check out these machines in action along the alignment and find out what they do.

What is flash butt welding?

Flash (butt) welding is an electrical resistance welding process used for joining sections of rail together. The energy transfer is provided primarily by the resistance heat from the rails themselves. Welding melts two rail pieces together, forming a seamless rail track.

Rail workers flash welding

What is a ballast train?

A ballast train has special wagons which drop ballast material directly onto the track formation via doors at the base of each wagon.

A train carrying ballast

What is a tamping machine?

A tamping machine (or ballast tamper) is a self-propelled, rail-mounted machine that compacts the ballast tightly under railway tracks, Tamping is important because it sets the rail, sleepers and ballast in place and ensures the new track retains its level and durability.

A tampering machine on the railway

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