Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Freight Rail, Industry Infrastructure

Navigating project challenges with precision – A testament to Swietelsky’s risk management, safety and excellence

Swietelsky Rail Australia (SRA) has announced the successful completion of the challenging Singleton Ballast cleaning project, marking yet another milestone in their commitment to excellence in rail maintenance services.

As the sole rail maintenance company in Australia with ballast cleaning as its core activity, SRA stands at the forefront of innovation in mechanised maintenance.

The recent completion of the Singleton Ballast cleaning project, conducted in collaboration with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), underscores the longstanding relationship between the two businesses.

Image/SRA

Since the partnerships inception in 2014, it has yielded remarkable results, with over 300 kilometres of ballast cleaning completed. The scope of work has encompassed critical sections along the Ulan and Main North lines in NSW, as well as the vital rail corridor between Sandgate and Singleton.

During the April Major Closedown for the Hunter Valley network, SRA undertook maintenance works for their esteemed client, the ARTC.

The works provided crucial maintenance to the Hunter Valley rail network and played a pivotal role in the supporting vital links for the region’s economic supply chain. The scope of the Singleton project was extensive, encompassing not only ballast cleaning but also supporting drainage works. Spanning a worksite of over 10 kilometers, the project demanded meticulous planning, execution, and coordination to ensure its successful completion within the designated timeframe.

The project presented multiple challenges, further compounded by the unpredictable nature of extreme weather conditions impacting worksite accessibility and productivity.

Gary Holden, Director Technical and Risk at SRA, explained the task faced by the team and explains how they braved the elements to ensure timely completion of the project.

“I commend the collective effort of all involved in this project. The track sections we encountered were heavily fouled, however these conditions were successfully overcome by our operators and machines,” he said.

Amidst the ARTC Hunter Valley Major Closedown, relentless rain posed a significant obstacle to the smooth execution of the project. Despite this challenge, the SRA team remained undeterred and successfully delivered the scope of works.

Image/SRA

“All machines, operators, and civil crews worked through the rain and resulting methodology amendments effectively by successfully applying SRA’s procedures,” Holden said.

“Changes to spoil management were assessed during the works with risks successfully assessed and controls implemented to ensure no incident, injury, or issue.”

Amidst the ARTC Hunter Valley Major Closedown, relentless rain posed a significant obstacle to the smooth execution of the project. Despite this challenge, the SRA team remained undeterred and delivered exceptional results.

This project demonstrated SRA’s risk and change management capabilities, commitment to safety and adherence to best practices in every aspect of their operations.

Under Greg Buckley’s leadership, the project exceeded 100 per cent of the scope target, installing approximately 3,500 tonnes of new ballast and removing an estimated 5,000 tonnes of fouled material in the process of delivering over 3.5 kilometres of ballast cleaning.

Buckley, who joined SRA in 2022, brought invaluable experience to the table, with over six years’ experience in the Australian rail industry and additional expertise gained in the UK civil sector.

Reflecting on the project’s success, Greg acknowledges the pivotal role played by Swietelsky’s international mentoring and talent exchange program.

“Our newest team members benefited from expertise provided by Swietelsky Austria and UK staff as part of Swietelsky’s international mentoring and talent exchange program,” Holden said.

Planned preventative maintenance is at the heart of SRA, their services create conditions that ensure people and goods are transported quickly, comfortably and securely, all of which can be found here.