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© Malcolm Pym

Tuesday 26th July 2016


23 members met at West Ealing station at 10:45am for the short walk to Plasser (UK) Works. West Ealing station is under rebuilding for the new Crossrail service, and a new bay platform is being built for the Greenford branch trains which will start and terminate there.


Plasser Works is situated in the triangle of lines which allows access towards Greenford from both the East and West. The works occupy the site of the former West Ealing Wagon Shops.


We were met at the works by Maike Scherer (the PA to the MD), who had arranged our visit. We were shown to a room where refreshments were provided and we were joined by Mark Simmonds and Haydon Peers, who gave us a welcome and introduction to the site. The works undertakes planned maintenance, overhauls and pre-service entry checks. They also have a large ‘spares’ set up and a training facility. All this is backed up by off-site technicians and emergency spares being sent from abroad if required.


An interesting question was raised regarding Brexit! The official answer is that it has caused a few concerns, which could have a knock-on effect on prices!


We were then taken to the workshops and shown a new vehicle going to AMEC for the High Output Ballast Cleaning Train – a very interesting vehicle which has a retractable caterpillar track for use when on site. Also seen was a Colas Rail Tamper (DR 73909) which was in for overhaul. The machine was partially striped, with all of the tamping arms being removed for refurbishment. We were able to see close up what is involved with one of these machines. They weigh 80 tons and are very long. Additionally, the group could view the drivers cab and look at the underside operators cab at close proximity.


Unfortunately, we were unable to see the new MMU which should have been delivered that morning. When Mark had given his presentation to the Institution earlier in the year, he had explained the concept of its function. Due to delays with its arrival into Dollands Moor, the onward movement to West Ealing was delayed by 3 days.


After the tour, we were given a generous buffet lunch. At this point, a presentation was made by the Institution Secretary to our hosts, plus a charity donation, which was collected during the morning.


Plasser (UK) Works