North East drone firm partners with Network Rail in £2.6m deal

North East drone specialist Heliguy has been awarded a national contract with Network Rail worth up to £2.6m.

Heliguy, based in North Shields, is the online retail brand presence of Colena Ltd, a UK drone solutions provider. The company supplies drone training, rental services and DJI (Da-Jiang Innovations) enterprise drones.

The North East UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) specialist was founded in Northumberland.

In 2013, the company relocated closer to Newcastle in an attempt to expand the business into the emerging drone market. To win a place on this major agreement has made the firm “extremely proud”.

The Unmanned Aircraft Services framework contract requires Heliguy to provide a service tailored to Network Rail’s specific needs.

This includes maintaining, repairing and servicing Network Rail’s drones and delivering on-demand bespoke training to the infrastructure group’s in-house pilots.

Network Rail, through the three-year contract, will use Heliguy’s drone supply in covering infrastructure inspections and maintenance checks along its nationwide rail network.

The agreement is part of the rail firm’s five-year programme spending £42bn ‘to make Britain’s railways more reliable’.

Carrying out inspections via air will improve railway safety as engineers will not be required on the tracks. The use of drones will also allow the railway to be kept open, improving the performance and reliability of Network Rail’s trains.

Ruairi Hardman, Heliguy’s business development manager, concluded: “This contract award with Network Rail is the largest of its type in the UK and as such is a testament to our ability to deliver such projects at this level.

“The whole team at Heliguy is delighted to work with Network Rail’s drone programme.”

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