New track-work technology makes stripping faster

New track-work technology developed by John Holland is set to make track stripping safer and more efficient.

John Holland Rail General Superintendent Peter Baker, together with local supplier Richard Hill, has developed the rail springer — an excavator attachment Mr. Baker said makes the traditionally labour-intensive and high-risk process of track stripping safer and up to five times faster.

“The springer is designed to attach to an excavator via a quick hitch, the hi-rail excavator then moves along the track typically stopping at three sleeper intervals,” Mr. Baker said.

“At each stop the attachment protrudes down and clamps onto the rail, lifting the rail upwards at a variable height lift of up to 150 millimetres.”

The equipment releases rail from timber sleepers, and because it is fully machine operated, minimises risk of injury.

Mr. Baker said when using the equipment, rail anchors are readily available to be removed from the rail as they are not constrained within the ballast area.

According to Mr. Baker, the innovation has already proved successful on several Victorian Government level crossing removal projects (LXRP) including those at Camp Road, Campbellfield, Skye Road and Frankston.

The LXRP projects were delivered as part of the North Western Program Alliance – a collaborative effort between LXRP, KBR, Metro Trains Melbourne and John Holland.

The rail springer is currently in use on LXRP’s $232 million Reservoir Level Crossing Removal Project, which when completed, will see the construction of an elevated rail bridge over High Street Reservoir in Melbourne’s north.

John Holland Executive General Manager Rail Steve Butcher said he is proud the rail team is delivering industry-leading technology that makes work safer for rail employees and more efficient for customers.

According to Mr. Butch, the rail springer allows a single operator to complete one kilometre of track stripping per hour, in comparison to traditional methods which have a production rate of roughly 200 metres per hour.

“Developing solutions to complex challenges is what we at John Holland pride ourselves on,” Mr Butch said.

“It’s fantastic our rail team is at the forefront with pioneering technology that will transform how our industry works for the better.”


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