New Measurement Train

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New Measurement Train
Tamworth railway station MMB 27 43062.jpg
43062 leading the New Measurement Train at Tamworth in August 2011
In service 2003 - present
Manufacturer British Rail Engineering Limited
Family name HST
Number built 1 trainset
Formation 2 Class 43 power cars
5 Mark 3
Operator(s) Network Rail
Maximum speed 125 mph (201 km/h)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The New Measurement Train (NMT), is a specialised train which operates in the United Kingdom to assess the condition of track so that engineers can determine where to work. It is a specially converted High Speed Train, consisting of two Class 43 power cars and five Mark 3 carriages. It can check the condition of most main lines and some secondary routes operating a 13-week rolling cycle. The train is permitted to travel across any part of the network where HSTs are permitted, as well as High Speed 1.


The NMT was formed in direct response to concern over gauge corner cracking following the October 2000 Hatfield rail crash.[1] In September 2002 work commenced on preparing ex Virgin CrossCountry Class 43 power cars 43013, 43014 and 43062 and two Mark 2 and three Mark 3 carriages from the Railway Technical Centre fleet.[2][3][4][5] Only two carriages carried testing equipment, the extra carriages being required for brake force purposes. The NMT entered service on 9 May 2003.[6][7] The two Mark 2s were replaced in 2004 with ex Virgin CrossCountry Mark 3s.[8][9] In August 2005 a further Mark 3 joined the fleet fitted with a pantograph.[10][11]

In 2004/05, power cars 43067, 43154 and 43196 were added while the core fleet was upgraded.[12][13][14] All had been placed in store by February 2006.[15][16]

In 2009/10, 43013, 43014 and 43062 had their Paxman Valenta engines replaced with MTU engines by Brush Traction.


The train measures the contact between rails, wheels and the overhead electric supply line. Lasers and other instruments are used to make other measurements of the track geometry and other features such as overhead line height and stagger, and the track gauge, twist and cant. On the West Coast Main Line, particular care has to be taken to ensure that clearances are maintained for the use of tilting trains. The train captures video footage from the front and rear power cars, and video of the pantograph and wheel interfaces.

The Development Vehicle (DV) includes a video based system utilising image recognition systems to look for defects such as missing clips. The vehicle also houses both a contact and non-contact Over-Head Line monitoring system used to detect faults in overhead wires. White lights next to the pantograph project a line followed by cameras to enable the height, stagger and wear of the contact wire to be monitored. The wear on the contact wire is measured as the width of a strip on the underside, where the pantographs of trains come into contact and wear away the cable. If the original thickness of the cable is known, this can be converted into a percentage of remaining area, which in turn when related to a maximum allowable wear can give an estimate of the remaining life left. No traction or system power is drawn using the pantograph, as the train is diesel powered.

The track recording systems vehicle has banks of screens allowing the team of three operators to view a range of system outputs, including track faults, train location, and radio signal strength.

One of the Messing Cars hosts a system for monitoring and commissioning of Network Rail's various radio systems (GSM-R, CSR and NRN).

It is allocated to Heaton TMD in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, returning there for scheduled maintenance every Sunday. Maintenance of the recording equipment is carried out at the Railway Technical Centre in Derby.


Hornby released a train pack of the two HST power cars which can be easily obtained on the website. Hornby also released an ex TF and an ex TGS Mk 3 coaches to go with the two power cars.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Doctor Yellow" Rail Magazine issue 469 3 September 2003 pages 40-45
  2. ^ "Railtrack's HST test train work starts" Rail Magazine issue 444 18 September 2002 page 21
  3. ^ "Virgin hands back ten HST power cars" Rail Magazine issue 447 30 October 2002 page 55
  4. ^ "Now Departmental High Speed Trains" The Railway Magazine issue 1219 November 2002 page 5
  5. ^ "Modular buffet prototype joins NR" Rail Magazine issue 458 2 April 2003 page 59
  6. ^ "NR's yellow HST enters service" The Railway Magazine issue 1227 July 2003 page 9
  7. ^ Intensive inspection at high speed Railway Gazette International 1 July 2003
  8. ^ "Mk2s to be replaced on New Measurement Train" The Railway Magazine issue 1243 November 2004 page 58
  9. ^ "Replacement Mk 3 added to NR's New Measurement Train" Rail Magazine issue 502 8 December 2004 page 15
  10. ^ "Network Rail introduces new NMT coach" Rail Magazine issue 519 3 August 2005 page 17
  11. ^ "Sixth NMT coach" The Railway Magazine issue 1254 October 2005 page 68
  12. ^ "Change of plan for additional NR NMT power car" Rail Magazine issue 480 4 February 2004 page 63
  13. ^ "NMT gains another 43" Rail Magazine issue 513 11 May 2005 page 27
  14. ^ "NR takes sixth NMT power car" Rail Magazine issue 527 23 November 2005 page 22
  15. ^ "NMT power cars stored" The Railway Magazine issue 1259 March 2006 page 79
  16. ^ New Measurement Train The 125 Group

External links[edit]

Media related to Network Rail New Measurement Train at Wikimedia Commons