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ScotRail Alliance promises railway performance boost on Kyle Line, Far North Line and Inverness-Aberdeen line after £1.6m mobile wheel lathe installed at Inverness Depot – speeding up train maintenance on Class 158s and its Inter7City fleet of InterCity 125s

By Philip Murray

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The new wheel lathe equipment in use at the Inverness Depot.
The new wheel lathe equipment in use at the Inverness Depot.

TRAIN performance on Highland rail lines will be boosted by a £1.6 million investment on new maintenance equipment for Inverness, rail bosses have claimed.

The ScotRail Alliance has spent the money on a new mobile wheel lathe at the Inverness Depot, which will reprofile carriage wheels on site, without the need to send them to the Central Belt - dramatically speeding up maintenance work.

Over time wheels can become misshapen through normal wear and tear. The lathe removes any imperfections or flat spots which have developed, keeping the wheels completely round without having to remove them from the train.

And ScotRail believes the ability to carry out this work in the Highland Capital will help improve train performance on the Kyle, Far North and Inverness to Aberdeen lines.

Previously, trains had to be transported at low speed to facilities in the Central Belt for wheel reprofiling work.

“The installation of the new wheel lathe at Inverness Depot will improve the performance and reliability of services in the region,” said ScotRail project manager, John MacDonald.

“Trains can now be serviced locally, allowing the depot to get them back in passenger service faster, saving valuable time.

“With the busy tourist season fast approaching, this is a real boost for the Highlands.”

The introduction of the new equipment in Inverness has also included the installation of new synchronised lifting jacks that allow two-carriage trains to be lifted at the same time, reducing the time it takes to service the train.

The new wheel lathe equipment in use at the Inverness Depot.
The new wheel lathe equipment in use at the Inverness Depot.

ScotRail’s existing Class 158 trains and its newly-refurbished InterCity 125s (pictured) will be serviced at the depot.

The £1.6 million project was funded through Network Rail’s Control Period 5 Scottish Network Improvement Fund, where investment was made available to deliver enhancements to the rail network and services.

“Passengers across the Highlands will be delighted that this equipment is now being used to help enable trains to return to service quickly and provide a more reliable level of performance,” said Transport Scotland’s rolling stock programme manager, Dougie Andrews.

“This Scottish Government funding builds upon the significant on-going investment in infrastructure and rolling stock across the area, enabling more services and seats to be provided. This, in turn, is helping make rail travel a more attractive choice for commuters and leisure travellers in the north of Scotland.”

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