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Thu August 13 2020

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Network Rail trials battery-powered tools

10 Jul Network Rail is trialling battery-powered hedge trimmers and strimmers to see if they are up to the job.

Network Rail is trialling battery-powered strimmers
Network Rail is trialling battery-powered strimmers

Battery-powered tools are generally considered cleaner and greener than petrol or diesel power. They are also usually much lighter and easier to handle, and reduce the risk of hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

But, although battery technology has improved, they don’t always have the power to cope with heavier jobs, or the battery life to keep going.

Network Rail’s works delivery and signalling teams in the Wessex route have been testing battery-powered equipment for hedge trimming and verge strimming for the past three months in and around Eastleigh, and they now are being trialled in the Portsmouth and Chessington areas.

So far, the trial has been successful, Network Rail says, and the trimmers and strimmers are popular with the staff that have used them. It is now considering rolling out their use across the Wessex route, which covers most of the south of England.

Chris Cornish, programme director for works delivery at Network Rail Wessex, said: “The strimmers and hedge trimmers are much quieter so they’re much better for our workforce, people who live close to the railway and wildlife.

“They’re lighter so they’re easier to carry and can be manoeuvred more easily, and as they are battery powered, they are more environmentally friendly. Overall, it’s a change which benefits everyone.”

As previously reported, Leicester City Council is also trialling battery-powered machinery in its grounds maintenance operations in place of traditional petrol power, to save money as well as reduce carbon emissions.

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