Delivery will start in late 2019 and take two years to complete. The new units will replace Stoneblowers that have been in use for more than 20 years.

The Stoneblower automates the traditional “measured shovel packing” method for restoring track geometry by inserting ballast pneumatically beneath the sleepers. The latest generation units are equipped with computerised measurement and automatic stone metering systems.

Harsco says the resulting track maintains ballast compaction, ensures full line speed hand-back, and maintains track geometry up to three-times longer than equivalent tamping methods, thereby reducing track maintenance cycles and preserving the condition of the ballast and sleepers.