AusRAIL, Engineering, Products & Technology, Rail Supply

AusRAIL 2022: A productive year for Manco Rail

Manco ausrail


Representatives from bespoke rail designers Manco Rail were out and about at AusRAIL to catch up with current customers and meet some potential new ones.

Director Ryan Black and general manager Jaclyn Vanderent said it was encouraging to see strong interest shown in the company’s range of new equipment released throughout the year.

Kicking off 2022 had been the latest version of the Manco rail boom, which Black said had been modified specifically for the rail industry.

The Manco range of rail booms have been renowned for their various all-access overhead work, stabling yard jobs and close-range projects, with their 4WD capability allowing all terrain access near, on, and over the tracks, as well as the 400kg payload platform, 16.5m maximum vertical reach, and 7.5m horizontal reach. 

Continued innovation had resulted in the Manco GEN 2 Rail Boom, which was released at AusRAIL in February.  

“This new system has a EURO6 engine on it, so it’s emissions-compliant,” Black said. “We gutted out the hydraulic system and put a specialist rail compatible system in there.

“We upgraded the hydraulics slewing; by rotating 360 degrees, it means that you actually have to have the hydraulic hoses spinning at a continuous 360 as well.

“We had a lot of interest in the vehicle and a lot of people that had been supporting other competitors of ours are showing a real interest because of the benefits we exhibited.

“We got the kind of response we wanted for redesigning something that was already doing well in the marketplace.”

Also popular were the company’s RTD series road-rail vehicles (RRVs) in narrow, standard and broad gauges.   

These days, RRVs are more than just vehicles and machinery that have been modified to operate both on conventional roads and on railways. They need to be robust, easy to operate and have strong safety capabilities. 

Manco’s RRVs possess these qualities and are all traction-driven, which means they use non-gear reduction technology that minimises vibration and noise. 

“Traction drive (Type 3) RRVs are fast becoming a mainstay for rail maintenance crews to quickly transport work crews, tools, and various componentry to and from worksites,” Vanderent said. 

All Manco Rail RTD series vehicles are supplied with the front rail axle placed behind the truck steer axle, allowing the OEM collision detection and safety interfaces to remain undisturbed.   

The Manco RTD-85 road-rail equipment is designed to sit below the chassis rail height, allowing easy fitment of a variety of tray back options on both single and crew cabs.  

“The design provides maximum available ground clearance,” Vanderent said.  

“With the rail equipment mountings installed below the vehicle chassis, the RRV can be equipped without hindrance a variety of tray options, such as drop sides or tipper.   

“The standard available tray size is 4.5 metres by 2 metres with 400mm high dropsides.   

“Additionally, toolboxes, or small vehicle loading cranes are all available.  Should operators have any specific tray mounted equipment requirements, Manco Rail engineers are able to design bespoke solutions to fit operator needs.” 

More recent products were the Manco powered trailers which can be specced in many tray and size configurations, and in some models, even in two sections. 

“The non-powered trailers can be towed via a powered trailer of a Manco hi-rail vehicle,” Black said. 

The units are all self-propelled and provide hi-rail transport for almost any plant, where other specific dedicated hi-rail converted equipment would be required or have been limited due to length and mass of the equipment.  

“Recent projects successfully completed by Manco include the coupling of four 14.5m powered trailers together to transport a mobile concrete batching plant down a rail tunnel, and two 14.5m unit fitted with removable 12m scissor platforms which also towed two equipment trailers each feeding the scissors with overhead line construction equipment,” Black said. 

“The innovation of these units provides options for customers, from the luxury of air condition cabs with all the bells and whistles, to simple handheld remote controls.” 

Manco powered trailers offer a range of crawler speeds to specialised applications up to speeds of 60km per hour.  

All systems on the trailer operate with a Controller Area Network (CAN bus), which provides ease of maintenance, diagnostics and interface with the multiple auxiliary equipment Manco has on offer. 

Manco’s most recent trailer client, Melbourne-based QEST Infrastructure, worked closely with Manco from the ideas from previous builds to meet the specific requirements of the company’s specialised plant.  

“QEST is so confident with the final design development that it has doubled its order. Manco is looking forward to supplying an increased range of services to the Victorian clients in the new year.” 

Another important client was Mercedes-Benz, with its Atego trucks fitted with the full suite of Manco hi-rail, elevating work platform, wire support boom and instrumented pantograph equipment.  

To support all these attachments and chassis modifications, the carrier vehicle had to be as precisely configured as a Swiss army knife.  

“The vehicles are extremely well-engineered and designed to provide flex and twist to provide the strength,” Black said.  

“The Atego continues on as the complete package, with a standard PTO output for auxiliary functions, and a live drive pump direct-coupled to the back for the motor for maximum torque and low revs, providing more than enough power for the hydraulic drive system.  

“All of the above equipment is completely integrated in the CAN bus system of the Mercedes, providing all the additional features such as remote start from the basket to battery and fuel monitoring, along with multiple RPM and light settings.”