Harsco Rail Stoneblower

Stoneblowers are specialised machines used by Network Rail to maintain ballast under track. Sensors on the Stoneblower measure the alignment of the ballast under the track down to 0.5mm, and then if needed the track is lifted and small stones are blown into any spaces found [1] using compressed air. This is claimed by Network Rail to be more durable than using a tamper as it doesn't disturb the existing trackbed and can extend the life of track [2].

Number built: 14
Builder: Pandrol Jackson / Harsco Rail

Network Rail maintains a fleet of stoneblowers built by Pandrol Jackson who were later bought by Harsco Rail. Eleven work on straight track with three Multipurpose Stoneblowers for switches and crossings. The latter three were developed by Harsco Rail and Network Rail, who are considering replacing their older machines with more of these advanced multipurpose machines.
Two views of DR80201 passing through Warwick

On the front of DR80201 is a crane used for loading stone

[1] Royston Morris, Railway Maintenance Vehicles & Equipment (Amberley Publishing, 2017) p. 15
[2] Network Rail. Track treatment fleet <https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/looking-after-the-railway/fleet-machines-vehicles/track-treatment/>