Goldschmidt

Going for gold

More than a century since the beginning of the Thermit welding process, the family-owned German business has now combined its companies under the Goldschmidt brand.

As a fully owned subsidiary of the Goldschmidt companies, Thermit Australia shares in the 120 year history of the business and is well supported by the innovative and collaborative spirit of over 20 Goldschmidt companies around the world.

Thermit Australia is the Goldschmidt Company responsible for supporting the Oceania and South East Asia regions. Operating from sites just outside of Sydney in NSW and Brisbane in QLD, Thermit Australia is well situated to partner with the local railway industry, providing aluminothermic welding and glued insulated joint supply across the region.

SMART RAIL SOLUTIONS
Goldschmidt is a global market leader for rail joining, modern construction of railway track, and track infrastructure inspection and maintenance. In March this year, Hans-Jürgen Mundinger, CEO of Goldschmidt presented the new brand.

Mundinger said Goldschmidt is in a strong position in the global growth market for future mobility and a leader for digital high-tech products and services for the railways. Through the global network of the Goldschmidt companies, Thermit Australia has formed important partnerships and enabled the Australian business to reliably supply a broader range of quality products to railways and contractors in the region.

“We have grown dynamically over the last 10 years and have taken over numerous companies which kept their brands in a transition stage. Now it is time to grow even closer together under one brand,” Mundinger said.

Given the increase in investment in passenger and freight rail transport, there is a healthy demand worldwide for products and services required for the intelligent modernisation of railway infrastructure. Asia has the highest number of large-scale rail projects as China and Japan continue to invest significantly.

“Rail transport has a key role to play in the realisation of environmental targets. Modern railway systems have to run smoothly and require tailor-made predictive maintenance and service. For this purpose, Goldschmidt offers a one-stop shop in all the international growth markets for high quality products and services under one brand,” Mundinger said.

ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE
The spirit of Professor Goldschmidt, the inventor of the Thermit welding process, is still imbued in the company today through the drive to do everything better, to improve existing processes, and develop new ones. Goldschmidt is systematically integrating its products in a digital network. The DARI® (Data Acquisition for Rail Infrastructure) database system developed in-house stores measurement and inspection process data via its cloud system. DARI® integrates the data recorded by the app in the cloud. Customers who use the Goldschmidt digital app have mobile access to all of the digital applications of the company. “The Goldschmidt brand stands for high quality innovative products on six different continents worldwide. This allows our customers to concentrate on the smooth, comfortable and reliable transportation of people and freight,” Mundinger said. Complex infrastructure projects require an intelligent control system which meets the highest requirements. Tools and machines that are integrated into a digital network enable the global coordination of maintenance actions and the collection and analysis of process data is essential in order to guarantee the mobility of the future.

Full schedule of services resume on Main Western Line

Services on the Main Western line have returned to full capacity after work crews completed repairs to line the line following bushfires and flooding.

Over 150,000 man hours have been put in since the Gospers Mountain Bushfires hit the railway in December. Flooding following heavy rains in February also washed away sections of track.

Some freight services and diesel-powered passenger services had resumed in mid-January, however due to the damage to signalling equipment and overhead powerlines, regular Intercity commuter services were cancelled.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said that the repairs had covered great lengths to get services back up and running.

“We know just what a vital transport link this line is for both passenger and freight services – and our crews have put in a superhuman effort to repair the devastation caused by the summer bushfires and flash flooding soon after,” said Toole.

“More than 200 employees worked to replace more than 50 kilometres of fibre optic cables and 37km of high voltage power lines damaged in the fires.”

Other equipment that had to be replaced included 75 power poles, a signal control hut, a substation, thousands of small pieces of safe working systems. The high-voltage power supply also had to be rebuilt and 540 trees removed from the corridor.

“It’s been a huge task but it’s great to know services on the Blue Mountains Line are now back on track – and ready to support essential travel for those returning to work and school and from June 1, those looking to enjoy a break in the bush,” said Toole. 

Acting chief executive of Sydney Trains Stewart Mills acknowledge the hard work of those who contributed to getting services back up and running.

“I’d like to thank every person who has worked so hard to rebuild, test and commission infrastructure critical to the safe operation of passenger and freight trains between Mount Victoria and Lithgow.”

Wreckage removed and repairs underway at Wallan following fatal XPT derailment

Transport for NSW and the ARTC are managing the recovery effort following the XPT train derailment north of Melbourne on Thursday.

The Australian Transport Safety bureau (ATSB) and the Victorian Government’s Chief Inspector, Transport Safety (CITS) are leading the investigation.

At 6.30am Sunday morning, Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) prepared a site with three cranes to lift the trains and carriages.

By 9.15am the rear locomotive and carriage departed the site. Parts of the train were examined in a specialist Sydney workshop on Monday.

Materials and supplies began to arrive to the site on Monday for repairs to begin. Track infrastructure that will need to be repaired includes 300 sleepers, 20 lengths of rail, 800 tonnes of ballast across roughly 300-500 metres of track.

An ARTC spokesperson said this work will continue throughout the coming days, reflecting the complexities of the recovery.

“Early this week we expect to begin the repairs to the track and signal infrastructure which was damaged in the incident,” he said.

Equipment including sleepers, rail, and signalling equipment will be delivered to the site to repair the rail infrastructure once the XPT is removed.

“The site is being carefully controlled to ensure the safety of all those who are now involved in the site recovery and repair,” an ARTC spokesperson said.

John Kennedy, the 54-year-old train driver from Canberra, had emailed his friend with concerns about the safety of the North East line in the weeks leading up to the derailment.

The email sent on February 3rd revealed that Kennedy noted his last six Melbourne return trips have been “very late or cancelled mainly due to train fault issues”.

“3 of the six runs I was down to one engine, on another trip I had no speedo and the only trip without a train fault was disrupted by the big derailment last week,” Kennedy’s email said. 

A NSW TrainLink XPT travelling from Sydney to Melbourne derailed near the Hume Freeway at Wallan, roughly 50km outside of Melbourne, just before 8pm on Thursday evening.

The express passenger train was carrying 153 passengers and five crew at the time of the derailment. Two of those crew members – the driver and the pilot – were killed in the derailment.

Rail, Train and Bus Union (RTBU) Victoria secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the rail community is angry at the Federal government for its failure to invest in a safe and reliable 21st century interstate rail network.

ARTC’s rules allow for trains to continue at normal speeds while under the control of a pilot under such conditions. Operators including Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) and V/line, however, impose an automatic speed restriction of 25kmh.

XPT services were running on the main line through Wallan for the past two week at track speed of around 100-130 k/hr.

Grigorovitch said ARTC changed the route for trains through Wallan, moving trains from the main line to a passing loop line.

“A Track Authority notice was issued calling for 15k/hr speed restriction on trains entering the passing loop, it appeared that there were a range of likely contributing factors to the derailment,” she said.

“The RTBU believes, however, that if ARTC imposed the same speed restrictions under pilot that are applied by MTM and V/Line, the incident may have been avoided.”

Grigorovitch said the Melbourne-Sydney rail line is known within the industry as the “goat track” because it is in such bad condition.

“For example, sections of the track are full of mud holes,” she said.

Grigorovitch is calling for Australia’s regional and interstate rail infrastructure to be safer.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said on Friday in Wallan that no authority in Australia would allow a train to travel on an unsafe track as “the ARTC monitors these things very closely and regularly”.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), in collaboration with the Victorian Government’s Chief Investigator, Transport Safety (CITS), is investigating the derailment of the XPT passenger train.

On site, investigators will examine the track infrastructure, the XPT power cars and carriages, and map the accident layout.

The ATSB will obtain and analyse available information and records, including the train data logger, signalling data, and maintenance records for the train and track infrastructure.  

The ATSB stated that a preliminary report will be released in about a month after the on-site phase, while the investigation’s final report can be expected to be released in about 18 months’ time.