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Known as ‘rail buggies’, utility vehicles are not new to the railway maintenance industry, but the development of the custom Polaris Rail Ranger presented an opportunity to innovate the design, including the introduction of technology and equipment which is normally reserved for bigger, more expensive plant equipment.
The custom Ranger was built by Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd, an established provider of specialist services for the rail and construction industries, including repair work, maintenance, engineering and heavy haulage transport. Based in Cwmbran, South Wales, Fitzgerald Plant Services aims to provide a one-stop-shop for all of their customers’ requirements – including specialist solutions like the Polaris Ranger.
“These machines are very versatile and can be utilised in a number of different ways,” said Clayton Greenman, Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd Engineering Manager. “That’s one reason why they’re so suited to working on the rails because it depends a lot on what kind of maintenance work the contractors are undertaking. Transporting personnel, towing trailers with tools and equipment, weed spraying, leaf clearance, track inspections – the Rail Ranger is the ideal vehicle to do it all.”
Supported by their local Polaris dealer – Usk & Wye Valley ATV Ltd – who serve the Monmouth and Forest of Dean areas, the Polaris Ranger was selected because of its refined cab that offers the option to be fully enclosed with the addition of doors, a windshield, rear panel and roof, alongside its class-leading capabilities and durability.
Initially building a prototype with a Polaris Ranger Diesel, Fitzgerald Plant Services will have delivered four Polaris Ranger vehicles to operate across UK rail lines by the end of this year, with many more custom builds planned for 2021.