Anglian work for High Output Ballast Cleaner

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. 

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  • Scott - 03/02/2015 11:54

    The paragraph at the bottom regarding the HOBC operator is incorrect. Freightliner Heavy Haul only have the contract to haul the HOTR core machines including the two RM 95, three RM 900 machines and the two TRS P95 machines. They are operated and maintained by the Amey Colas Joint Venture and this has been the case since January 2010.

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  • Ron - 30/04/2015 08:49

    Hi folks I'm new to this rail interest. I was inspired to go and look for the HOBC on the Ipswich to Stowmarket section of line at the weekend by a news article. Only to find that the train didn't go out due to Newts or a Newt i'm unsure which. so my exploration of the line at a time when most good folks would be in bed was entirely wasted. I have surfed the Net but can find no mention of if or where the train maybe this weekend assuming the Newts have sobered up or moved on. Can anybody help. Cheers

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