Key Source Rail chief executive officer David Gallagher chats with Rail Express about the plant and equipment that the company provides to the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand, particularly impacting carbon. Key Source Rail is an end-to-end railway maintenance plant and equipment and parts supplier and railway solutions consultant, with offices and workshops in Midland, Western Australia, Brisbane, Queensland, and Newcastle, New South Wales. Boasting extensive railway wagon and locomotive building experience, the business oversees the design, manufacture, quality control and commissioning of freight and ore wagons, ballast wagons, grain hoppers, crew cars and locomotives for the Australian and overseas markets. And that means the company literally does it all, as its motto goes, from the
largest infrastructure owner to the smallest maintenance provider. It’s backed by more than 120 years of combined in-house experience in rail operation, rail maintenance equipment, track laying, wagon building, rolling stock and wheel-set maintenance.
A significant development at Key Source Rail has been its focus on decarbonisation, sustainability and reduced carbon emissions products. The main product here has been the supply of Rosehill rubber crossings to the Australian and New Zealand rail industry.
Gallagher said Key Source Rail was also the exclusive distributor for the Geismar range of railway maintenance plant and equipment in Australia.
Geismar is a recognised world leader in the manufacture of equipment and services for track laying, rail maintenance and track measurement and recording.
“And we are supplier of BTI hard wearing tungsten carbide tamping tines, ballast wear plates and undercutter bars and chains,” Gallagher said.
As mentioned, another notch in the belt is Key Source’s ownership of sole distribution rights in Australia and New Zealand for Rosehill removable crossings.
“We have overseen the supply and installation of these from the harsh conditions of the Pilbara to inner city, suburban and regional county installations in Victoria, WA and New South Wales,” Gallagher said.
A feature he’s particularly proud of is Key Source Rail’s commitment to environmentally- friendly operations and products.
“The railway industry has seen a recent committed focus towards environmentally responsible applications, particularly within the railway plant and equipment and maintenance arenas,” Gallagher said.
“The industry has undergone significant change over the last few years largely in the two environmental areas of reducing carbon footprint and industry sustainability.
“Key Source Rail has embraced these moves and, working with our suppliers, have focused on these two issues.”
Meanwhile, the sustainability aspect is exemplified by the Rosehill rubber crossings, which are made from recycled tyres, instead of traditional bitumen and concrete for the surface.
“Large railway owners are turning to this product and embracing this as a greener, more sustainable solution for pedestrian, vehicular and track access panels and crossings,” Gallagher said.
“Rosehill panels are made from recycled tyres through a cold mould pressing process that produces a solid rubber, non-laminated product that does not crack, chip or delaminate.
“The panels are produced to suit the profile of the sleeper design supplied by the customer. Rosehill panels are designed for a variety of installations ranging from pedestrian crossings, Rail Road Access Pads (RRAPS), medium duty crossings through to the heavy duty and extreme heavy duty Titan crossing panel used in extreme load and weather conditions found in the iron ore and other heavy duty mining industries.”
Rosehill field panels can be produced in standard widths to fit between the outside web of the rail to the end of the sleeper, or in a wide configuration, extending past the end of the sleeper and supported by a solid rubber edge beam to allow for additional clearance for maintenance of way tamping operations.
Key Source Rail oversaw the installation of a heavy duty crossing on the technologically- advanced Rio Tinto Gudai-Darri project in the Pilbara, which endures extremely heavy traffic. Crossings have also been placed for Metro Trains Melbourne and the Sydney train network.
“Large rail owners and miners are starting to realise the value of installing these removable panels that enable easier track maintenance and jewellery inspection, and have the added green value of using recycled materials to replace concrete and bitumen,” Gallagher said.
“We are addressing the second issue, the decarbonisation initiative, by promoting new environmentally responsible technology such as the Geismar Activion battery-powered range of equipment.
“This electric-powered rechargeable technology is proving itself overseas, particularly in tunnel work and built-up residential areas where we get the additional bonus of having zero greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduced noise issues. On top of this we have the occupational, health and safety bonus of not exposing the operator to exhaust fumes.”
WAGONS, LOCOMOTIVES AND
BRAKE VALVE OVERHAUL
Key Source Rail has assisted in the management of manufacture and the procurement of wagons and locomotives in Australia and overseas.
“We have a team of onsite inspectors based in China that carry out total production coverage. We are well versed in the needs of the country that the rolling stock is entering,” Gallagher said.
Some of the types of wagons include flat cars, well wagons, five pack wagons, grain hoppers, tanker wagons for fuel cartage, crew cars and gondola wagons for ore cartage.
Ballast wagons that Key Source Rail delivered to Martinus.
“Evidence of the quality of our product can be seen in the 40 radio-controlled ballast wagons that we delivered to Martinus Rail last year,” Gallagher said.
“The pneumatics and hydraulics were all manufactured in Australia and fitted overseas and the wagons were delivered into Queensland in 2021, and are state-of-the-art pieces of ballast laying equipment.
“Key Source Rail also carries a large range of rolling stock consumable parts, including Chinese 150 brake system components and bogie springs, wear plates, adaptors, and the like. We also have a brake valve overhaul facility in Newcastle that will soon be able to inspect, service and overhaul various brake valves.”
WHEELS IN MOTION
The company runs its own wheelshop in Midvale, Perth, that has been established purely for railway wheelset maintenance, including re-wheel, reprofile, new assembly and bearing inspection.
It has successfully undergone and passed extensive audit by wheelset owners across the industry and has been accredited to ISO 9001:2015.
“We remove all package bearings from wheelsets ranging from 50t to 130t axle load and overhaul and refit.,” Gallagher said.
“This includes stripping and overhaul of axlebox wheelsets for all freight and track machine wheelsets.
“Part of our process is to inspect all axles to customer-specific specifications. We use temperature compensating measuring equipment for all bearing journal measuring.
“Our wheelshop facility has the capacity to reprofile to any customer requested profile, eg ANZR-1, WPR2000, LW3, including all the various Pilbara requirements, including narrow gauge and standard gauge wheelsets.
“We are equipped to dis-assemble and assemble wheels on freight and track machine wheelsets to customers’ requirements, including the machining of wheelseats and boring of wheels.
“Being a relatively small yet versatile wheelshop, we can offer competitive rates and quick turnaround times to keep customers on the right track.”