Rail grinder on its way to Christchurch
18 December 2013 4:04PM
A smoother ride for passengers and freight is just around the corner as KiwiRail’s rail grinder makes its way into Christchurch this summer.
The RR24M-30A Rail Grinder, owned and operated by global contractor, Speno, extends the lifespan of the track through smoothing and removing defective metal from the railhead, resulting in longer lasting rails.
KiwiRail’s General Manager for Infrastructure and Engineering, Rick van Barneveld , said that the grinder prolongs rail life and will bring significant benefits to KiwiRail’s maintenance operations.
“Over time the rail track head develops stress points, defects and metal build up from the steel wheels travelling on the track. It’s a problem that every rail network around the world has to deal with - it shortens the life of the rail track meaning we have to replace it more frequently than we would like.”
“Rail grinding will significantly enhance our operations as the track access time demands to complete re-railing can be avoided thereby minimising disruption to train services. It also has long term cost saving benefits as less track and wheel maintenance will be required and trains can travel with less effort thereby creating fuel savings.”
Over the last fifteen months, the rail grinder has slowly worked its way around the primary rail routes moving onto the North Island Main Trunk line and Wellington after completing work on the “Golden Triangle” routes connecting Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland.
This time it will be in Christchurch from 7th January, operating on the Main South Line.
As it moves along the track, the grinder will be followed by two Hi-Rail Fire tenders to manage any potential fire risk caused by sparks from the grinding. Mr van Barneveld said that the rail grinder was more than half the size of a football field and was sure to turn some heads in the coming weeks.
“It’s quite a sight when you see it in operation actually. No one will have seen this type of thing on the rail network before and experience overseas is that some people see the sparks and think that something is wrong with one of our trains. Rest assured, we’re doing everything we can to keep local communities informed,” he said.
The improvements are part of KiwiRail’s decade long programme of investment to improve New Zealand’s rail network so that it can pay its own way and deliver the highest levels of service for customers. Mr van Barneveld says, “Based on anticipated growth in freight volumes from the Port of Lyttleton, it makes sense to invest in the Canterbury region.”
Media contact: Sarah Pomeroy, firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 804 906.