Express from the U.S.: ‘Transformer’ shoulder ballast cleaner to hit the tracks

One of the most up-to-date rail track maintenance machines in Australia, dubbed ‘the Transformer’ by Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) staff, will soon be hitting the tracks between Melbourne and Sydney, ARTC announced today.

The $10 million dollar, state-of-the-art, LORAM Shoulder Ballast Cleaner is currently in testing in South Australia after safe delivery from Minnesota, the United States last month.

The almost 100 metre-long shoulder ballast cleaner is expected to be in operation along the Melbourne – Sydney rail corridor in late August following completion of the testing and commissioning process.

“This new piece of machinery illustrates ARTC’s long-term commitment to ensuring the track condition between Melbourne and Sydney is at a high quality standard, so our customers can get where they need to go reliably, safely and on-time,” ARTC CEO John Fullerton said.

“Current testing of the 240 tonne-heavy machine in the Adelaide Hills has been promising with it delivering production rates of 1.7km per hour, improving drainage by helping remove mud-holes and returning high quality ballast onto the track.”

The production rate means more than 1400 tonnes of freshly cleaned ballast is being returned to the track each hour.

“While temporary speed restrictions remain in place on some sections of the line between Melbourne and Sydney, we have been able to reduce a significant number of speed restrictions across the entire corridor with the works completed so far. The new shoulder ballast cleaner will help us continue these improvements,” Mr Fullerton said.

“We’d like to thank the North East Victorian community for their ongoing patience while these important works are being undertaken and particularly those customers that have had passenger train journeys replaced by coach as a result of recent works.

“The new shoulder ballast cleaner is a symbol of the continued investment ARTC is making in areas that will improve performance, reliability and transit times for our customers.”

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