Network Rail’s High Output Ballast Cleaner (HOBC) has begun work on the Great Eastern Main Line, between Norwich and Stowmarket.
Work is being carried out on Saturdays to Wednesdays, with trains retimed in order to pass the HOBC, which is working for the first time on a double-track railway. It was previously used on the Great Western Main Line.
Using an HOBC enables NR to double its productivity. The company claims that had it used conventional methods, then the project would take 12 years rather than two.
The HOBC will work until April between Norwich and Haughly (near Stowmarket), April to May between Ipswich and Stowmarket, May to October between Colchester and Shenfield, and from November to December between Norwich and Stowmarket.
NR plans for the HOBC to continue working on the GEML in 2016, but says it is also planned to work on Saturday nights on the Ely-Peterborough route. In late-2016 and into 2017 NR will also be installing new track on the GEML.
The HOBC is based at Harwich Parkeston Quay. Freightliner Heavy Haul won the contract to operate it.