Keeping track on rail geometry

Tasrail tamping machine 1

Keeping track on rail geometry

MAY 2016 | Joanne Eisemann

YOU MAY have noticed some rather noisy machines working their way slowly along railway tracks in the Meander Valley lately.

They are a Tamper Machine and a Ballast Regulator and are “the most critical pieces of track maintenance equipment” according to TasRail’s General Manager of Asset Management, Jonathan Drew.

The machines work their way from one end of the line to the other with a crew of five taking around a year to make the trip.  Ballast (rock base of track) is replaced where needed then tamped and regulated by the Tamping Machine and Ballast Regulator to “maintain track geometry,” says Mr Drew.

Maintaining the 611km of operational railway tracks and 232 km of non operational tracks is a rather large undertaking with 1.3 million sleepers, 106 active level crossings (with lights and sound), 143 passive level crossings (with stop signs), 250 private level crossings, 3 tunnels and 355 bridges to oversee.

“There are daily inspections of all our networks,” says Mr Drew as well as regular programs of sleeper replacement, rail replacement, removal and slashing of vegetation surrounding the tracks.

TasRail transports the equivalent of 200,000 heavy vehicle movements each year along the railway, not only keeping roads safer for all users but saving an estimated 12 million litres of fuel.

Mike Moores