In this post I am deviating from normal practise and showing pics of track machines, those indispensible vehicles we often see through Winwick but take little notice of. Without them the railway would be far less effective and the three examples I have chosen - a Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV), a Tamper and a Ballast Regulator - have all been photographed during the past few months.
The first pic shows a MPV prototype pair, DR98904 and 98954, comprising a powered machine and a non-powered slave unit taken on 16th September 2009. Network Rail MPVs were built in Germany by Windhoff AG and are mainly used between September and December. They clear the rail head of leaf mulch using high pressure water jets and apply a special composition of sand and gel ('Sandite') to aid adhesion. MPVs are also used to control lineside vegetation.
The second pic features a tamping machine owned by First Engineering, DR73904, Thomas Telford. The model is a Plasser & Theurer 08-4x4/4S-RT which is a switch and crossing tamper. Tampers are used to correct the level and alignment of the track. The pic was taken on 21st October 2009.
The final pic features a ballast regulator, a Plasser & Theurer USP 5000C owned by Fastline Ltd. Ballast regulators shape and distribute ballast which should be level with the tops of sleepers and properly shouldered. They can transfer ballast from the side of the track to the centre and from side to side. They are used for newly laid track and for ballast renewal on existing track and often in conjunction with tampers. The pictured example can also profile banks. The pic was taken on 12th March 2010.