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DIRFT III Features Specialist Rail Traverser
- February 8, 2021

Mechan is supplying Winvic Construction with a bespoke rail traverser for the new £29 million Intermodal Rail Freight Terminal which is being constructed for Prologis at its DIRFT intermodal logistics park in Northamptonshire.

The rail depot equipment specialist is one of just a few firms in the United Kingdom which has the ability to design and build traverser, holding the record for the largest installation in the country at the Port of Felixstowe.

Known as DIRFT III, the project comprises a 344-hectare logistics site which will see a state-of-the-art rail freight terminal. The traverser will be situated outside the terminal building at the end of 9km of new line being constructed by Winvic.

The traverser will be used to move Class 66 locomotives in a perpendicular direction on the tracks to they can return to service after loading and unloading, which in turn allows the terminal length to be shorter.

Working in close partnership with the Winvic team, Mechan has designed the multi-rail traverser to suit the specific conditions at DIRFT III which spans 28 metres, has a capacity of 140 tonnes and comprises of an access platform, plus loco buffer in order to prevent trains overrunning.

Lindsey Mills, Mechan’s Sales Manager, said: “We are really pleased to secure a contract for the DIRFT III traverser, after successfully completing a competitive tendering process and we look forward to working with Winvic on this key project. Although the sheer size of a traverser makes each installation a challenge, they are actually a great space saving device, allowing trains to be transferred between tracks easily and efficiently.”

Once the design has been completed, Mechan will begin construction of the traverser at its headquarters. It will then be dismantled for delivery to the site and will be installed and commissioned in April 2021.

Winvic’s Rob Cook, Civils and Infrastructure Director, added: “As rail traversers aren’t that common in the UK, this is a particularly exciting element of an already significant and complex scheme. Mechan’s reputation is second to none and our design teams have been working very well together to get to the stage where the firm is almost ready to begin the manufacturing process. Installation is planned for the end of April and we are looking forward to seeing this specialist piece of equipment – that is central to the compact nature of the terminal’s design – being installed on site.”

Winvic commenced construction of DIRFT III in June this year and it is expected to be completed next summer. The intermodal rail terminal will enable 24, 775-metre trains to carry freight in and out of the logistics park, while the concrete yard will provide space for the storage of approximately 460 containers.

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