The British Army has confirmed its commitment to the continued use of environmentally friendly trains to transport armoured vehicles from Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire to bases around the UK and Europe.
For more than 20 years, armoured vehicles have been loaded on to trains at the railhead at Redmire on the Wensleydale Railway line to Northallerton to avoid road haulage.
The Commander of the Field Army, Lieutenant General Ivan Jones, visited the soldiers who have been working for more than a week on Exercise TURNOUT to refurbish and harden the 20 miles of track between the Redmire railhead and Northallerton where it joins the national network.
This work will allow the continued safe passage of freight trains carrying armoured vehicles.
Major Alex Hamilton, Commanding Officer of 507 Specialist Team Royal Engineer (STRE), said: “Wensleydale is a heritage railway serving mostly tourism and the local community. This and other sites are a great utility to the British Army, as we are able to bring armoured vehicles up the east coast and deliver them to Catterick Garrison.”
Sergeant Chris McGarry, team leader and plate layer, said: “Exercise TURNOUT has been a great opportunity to get my hands dirty and use the maintenance tools to work on the permanent way (track) as well as work with a diverse group of people. In my civilian career, I work on asset management for Network Rail so getting to maintain the permanent way allows me to see another side of the industry”.
Warrant Officer Class 1 Nick Ankrah, Royal Engineers, said: “We are a national team. Recently, we have worked at railheads in Monchengladbach in Germany and South Wales. Sometimes we also go to Italy. Leyburn offers a good UK setting in picturesque Wensleydale with a variety of scenarios to develop the team’s skills.”
The exercise continues for two weeks during which the team will be refurbishing the 20 mile stretch of track as well as a number of small level crossings and track infrastructure.