Track fleet: machines and specialist trains

Looking after rail track to keep trains running smoothly and safely is an important part of what we do. We use a range of specialist machines and technology, generally at times when no passenger trains are running.

We own and operate some of this fleet and contract third parties for the rest.

The videos below show the track fleet in action.

Rail grinder

The rail grinder reprofiles the rail head to minimise wear, remove minor defects and reduce stress on the rail from trains travelling over it, so the rail track last longer. It also smooths the rail, improving the ride for passenger and freight services.


The tamper machine adjusts the track alignment by lifting the track and compacting the ballast underneath the sleepers to hold the track in place. It helps create a smoother ride for passengers and freight.

Ballast cleaner

This large machine removes the ballast, passes it through a sieve and rejects non-compliant ballast. New ballast replaces the rejected ballast with the tamper machine installing track to the correct geometry.

Rail panel lifter and trollies

The remotely operated panel lifter can move pre-assembled rail and sleeper panels up to 75 metres long. It helps us remove and reinstate track faster and more efficiently.

Rail testing cart

The NDT (Non-destructive testing) cart uses ultrasonic testing equipment to detect any defects in the rail track. It's towed along the rail line allowing the team to inspect up to 100 kilometres per shift. Once the monitoring data is collected and analysed, any defects are identified for a follow-up inspection by a track engineer.