Remember me | Forgotten password?

Purely technical questions and questions about the track work in the UK

Author Message

Kerrie Illsley

10 July 2019, 12:54pm

I'm a French business student at HEC Paris, and as part of a mission, I'm currently doing a market study about rail accessories (fishplate, baseplate, pads, clips, ...) in Europe. Part of my work is then to gather some technical data (share of CWR, types of accessories used, types of rails, ...) about the permanent way structure in each European country, and especially in the UK.

Would you agree to answer some of my technical questions?

Thanks in advance for your time and help,

Best regards,

Lucas Violon

Purely technical questions

1. What is the proportion of continuous welded rail (CWR) on the British rail network?

2. How are the types of rails on the British network distributed (what proportion of 60E1, 54E1, 50E1, ...)? 

3. What is the average length of conventional (non-welded) jointed rail in the UK?

4. How many sleepers per km are used in the UK? Do you know if this ratio changes one country from another? 

5. What are the most used rail fastening systems (clips, screws, Nabla, ...) in the UK?

6. What is the average renewal rate of each of these accessories by Network Rail? (Fishplates, bolts, baseplates, pads, screws)

==> For those questions, would you know the answers for some other European countries? 


Questions about the track work in the UK

5. What proportion of track work is outsourced (in %)? What are the differences between renewal, maintenance and track extension work? 

6. What are the trends regarding this track work: towards more outsourcing? Or on the contrary towards internalisation? Is this trend part of a national Network Rail plan? 

7. When a track work is outsourced, which part buys the rail accessories? Network Rail or directly the installers/contractors? If it depends, why is it the case?

Vbdprasad (Guest)

12 July 2019, 12:32pm

I am working as a pway supervisor in India. But i need more knowledge which pway course is suitable for me in uk. 

Gavin John Livie

15 October 2019, 11:12am

Dear Lucas,

It is unclear whether you have received a reply, but I will attempt to answer some of your questions, in the same order:

  1. CWR is the majority of UK track used by Network Rail.  I would estimate this to be in excess of 90%.

  2. The majority of NEW rails installed by Network Rail (NR) is 56E1 and 60E1 or 60E2.  My recent data shows that 60E1/2 accounts for 55% of new rails.  However, some sites still have rails of older types.  Still be found are: BS113A, BS109, and a few BS98.

  3. The rail length between joints is the old 60 feet, which is about 19m.  This type of track is now only found on lower category routes, and may make the majority of those routes.  It remains the objective to replace all this track over time, and most of these routes have now been upgraded to CWR.

  4. The number of sleepers and sleeper spacing has altered over time, so again lower category routes will have wider sleeper spacing.  This was specified as a quantity of sleepers per length of rail, and varies from 24 sleepers per length (1263 sleeper per km) to modern standards being 30 sleepers per length (1580 sleepers per km).  This changes in detail between areas in the UK and between other countries.

  5. Pandrol is the supplier of the majority of rail fastenings, and Network Rail has rationalised on the FASTCLIP (FC1500 Series).  London Underground also uses the FASTCLIP (FE1400 Series).

  6. The renewal rate depends upon the local track conditions and the severity of rail wear.  It is normal practice to replace; clips, pads, and insulators when the rail needs to be replaced or changed.  When complete track renewal is required, all new materials and components are replacead down to formtion level.

I hope this provides an overview of the market intelligence you are seeking.  I am sure that other PWI members will enhance or correct my answers.


Gavin Livie

Rufford Rail Marketing Consultancy Ltd.

StephenOrava (Guest)

22 May 2020, 10:47pm

Hey guys, have You heard about this new app? You can find STUMBLER
app on Google play. It is an amazing app that: - is daily updated -
has great content - has amazing community of people - provides only
the best content - follows all of the current subjects - it is 100%
FREE to use Find us on Google play - Stumbler: funny videos, memes
& viral videos Found out more on this link: P.S. help spread the word not the
virus. #staysafe <3

Quick Reply