Maintaining The UK’s Railway Network


Although media reporting would have you believe otherwise, the UK rail network is actually one of the safest and most efficient in the world. In order to create a good rail network you need good rail maintenance and repairs and upkeep that are constantly being carried out on rail lines all over the country are what helps to keep the UK rail network running so well.

If you’re wondering exactly what sort of maintenance and repair is carried out on a daily basis around the country then read on to discover why railway track maintenance is essential.


Railway tracks need to be cleaned regularly with special tools. These tools are designed to avoid scratching the rails during cleaning as this can cause defects and can scratches can also allow more dirt to settle on rails.

Railway Track Testing and Treating

Before tracks are laid they go through a series of treatments and tests to ensure they are safe for use. This can include things like exposing tracks to extreme temperatures of heat and cold to ascertain whether the track can withstand adverse weather conditions.


All rail tracks have ballast laid between them which needs to be replaced and maintained at regular intervals. Ballast needs to be kept smooth and below the level of the track surface to avoid damaging trains.

Securing rail tracks

Rail tracks need to be secured to sleepers but they also need a certain amount of give. The strength at which rails are attached to sleepers is carefully determined to make them secure but avoid ‘bounce back’ of rail wheels which can lead to bumpy journeys.

Cleaning and safety equipment

Rail safety and cleaning equipment is generally transported along tracks by equipment such as rail skates. Rail skates can be used one at a time or in pairs and extra attachments can be fitted to allow the skates to carry heavier weights.

Maintenance times

It can sometimes seem that rail maintenance is carried out at the most inconvenient of times but in actual fact the majority of rail maintenance is carried out overnight to avoid disruption on rail lines. Engineers work in teams to complete repair and maintenance work as quickly as possible so the UK rail network can continue to run smoothly and efficiently.

Without the maintenance, cleaning and repair services that are carried out on the rail network on a daily basis we would not have the fantastic safe and efficient rail service that we do in the UK.

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