AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Largest track maintenance machine in the southern hemisphere unveiled

The US-built and Australian-assembled machine, the largest in the southern hemisphere, will commence work on the Goonyella coal network in late April.
QR Services executive general manager, Lindsay Cooper said the new machine would cut rail grinding maintenance time by up to 75 per cent, which allowed more freight and coal trains to use the network.
QR is Australias largest rail infrastructure business, we have a network of more than 10,000km of rail and the responsibility and capability to maintain it, Cooper said.
As well as maintaining the track we own and operate in Queensland, we are also providing similar services in other areas of the country.
We were recently successful in securing a $100 million, eight year contract to provide rail grinding for 3,000km of track throughout four mainland states, as well an additional contract for similar work in Western Australia.
The purchase of this machine shows our confidence in the future of coal and freight hauling in Queensland we want to provide an efficient, safe and well maintained network for all of our customers.
Rail grinding repairs the wear and tear on train tracks caused by trains carrying heavy loads over extended periods of time. By effectively shaving the top of the train tracks to restore them to their original shape, the track lasts longer and locomotives and wagons running on the tracks use less fuel and have reduced wheel wear. This results in large cost savings on maintenance and provides a safer and more economical railway, according to QR.
Everything about the Loram machine is big: the machine has 5 x 1000hp engines delivering a combined 5000hp of power (a family sedan has about 230hp), it has 80 x 30hp grind motors providing 2400hp of power to rectify and maintain the rail and it carries up to 90,000L of water for fire suppression and 48,000L of diesel to keep the machine running.
Onboard lasers and computer systems measure the track in real time, effectively allowing the minimum amount of metal to be removed from the top of the track to restore it to back to original condition.
Because the machine produces sparks, it has sophisticated fire suppression equipment, including three tiered spark containment shields and foam injected water to pre-wet the track.
Large extraction fans produce 15,000 cubic feet per minute of suction to capture all the waste metal and sparks in large hoppers on board the machine.
The machine also has a fully self-contained fire fighting operation including remote controlled fire cannons, hoses, a series of different water spray systems and fire fighting support vehicles.

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