Machen Quarry Route Availability Improvement

Increasing the line Route Availability to ensure the efficient running of traffic.

Freightliner class 66 loco transporting heavy haul goods through the countryside.


Machen Quarry in South Wales is a Hanson facility which had supplied low volumes of material due to the low Route Availability (RA) of the line. Route availability is the system used by the railway to grade permanent way, bridges, embankments and other features based on what loading it can support. The higher the RA, the heavier axle weights that can be supported.


By working collaboratively with Network Rail, Hanson and Mendip Rail, Freightliner sought to increase the line RA in order to ensure that traffic running from Machen was as efficient as possible. Network Rail undertook a project on a weak bridge on the Machen Branch line increasing the RA from RA8 (22.8t/axle) to RA10 (25.4t/axle) – this meant that Freightliner could deliver an additional 200 tonnes per train. This has now allowed Hanson and Mendip Rail to significantly increase the amount of material Machen is able to supply into major infrastructure projects such as HS2.