A major rail maintenance shutdown is due to take place on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) Hunter Valley network, with preparation works involving drones to film sections of track.
Over 120 projects worth more than $20 million will take place during the shutdown, which is to take place from 20 to 23 February, and include bridge repairs and replacements, re-railing, rail grinding, track reconditioning, signal works, and other corridor maintenance tasks.
Drones that film in 4k video are being used to perform technical bridge inspections, which, according to ARTC’s Hunter Valley group executive Wayne Johnson, make difficult work that once required long hours safer and more efficient.
“Using drones to inspect critical structures like rail bridges is just one of the technology solutions we have been employing to make our rail network safer, more efficient and reliable,” Johnson said.
“A drone removes the need for slow moving equipment, harnesses and the dangers of working at heights and there is the added benefit of being able to record the inspection for future reference and review in high resolution.”
Other technology solutions that the ARTC has recently taken up include GE Transportation’s Movement Planner, which enables real-time traffic planning and optimisation, allowing greater efficiency in freight movements, and GPS-guided machinery, which can be used to carry out earthworks with fewer disruptions and at greater speed.
Next week’s set of maintenance works on the Hunter Valley network will see level crossing closures at Rosemount Road in Denman (Thursday) New Street in Gunnedah (Wednesday), Bells Gate Road (Wednesday and Thursday), and Roxburgh Road on the Ulan Line (Tuesday). Level crossing works at Merriwa Road in Willow Tree will run until Thursday 1 March.
“We would like to thank the community for its patience while this work takes place. We know that it can be disruptive and with the use of heavy machinery, noisy work, and we do appreciate it causes an inconvenience to some of our neighbours,” Johnson said.
“Trucks and heavy machinery will be in use, as well as entering and exiting work sites. We ask the community to please take caution around the rail corridor during this time and be aware there may be some road closures or detours in your region.”