Invitation to Innovation

26 April 2002

Invitation to Innovation

Jarvis' Mole Machine

On 23rd and 24th April, two Open Days were staged by Jarvis Rail, Jarvis Fleet Management and Railtrack at the Roberts Road (Hexthorpe) Plant Depot in Doncaster for staff and the press.

Entitled "Innovation Hothouse", many items of new and refurbished plant were on display, as well as a vast array of Jarvis Fleet Managements fleet of road vehicles. Combined with the backdrop of sidings full of withdrawn plant, the new machines certainly looked impressive.

Here is a quick run down of the major new plant items on display...

The Sleeper Distribution Train

As you can probably tell from the name, its main purpose is to distribute sleepers. Comprising of 5 sleeper carrying wagons, and one generator wagon, the train is capable of delivering up to 2100 new steel sleepers to a renewal site. Alternatively, the train can carry 608 concrete sleepers. Under normal practices (using twin jib cranes etc), it would take up to 12 hours for 50 men to lay 1km of sleepers. This train, with a crew of six, can do the same task in approximately an hour! This is quite a time saving train.

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This train also has the functionality of coupling with an RRDT, and forming a complete sleeper and rail and delivery train. The performance of this configuration is thought to rival that of the Harsco Track Renewal Train. And at nearly a tenth of the price of the TRT, the SDT sets are certainly an attractive competitor.

The set of wagons were converted at Jarvis' workshops in York from former GE Capital curtain sided ferry vans. The generator vehicle (DR92520) has room to carry materials like Pandrol Fastlips etc. Each sleeper vehicle (DR92519, 92521-92524) has two 3.2 tonne radio controlled hoists on side mounted cranes, and sleepers are loaded on/off using a forklift truck and special pallets.

The Rail Recovery/Delivery Train

Again, each set comprises of one generator vehicle and five carrier wagons. This time, they carry rail. Initially the trains were conceived to collect surplus rail from renewal sites after the Hatfield incident. However, the sets have spent more time depositing new 300ft lengths of welded rail than collecting used rail.

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Plans are being investigated to convert the rail lifting clamps to an electro-magnet system, reducing the current five man crew to just one or two and becoming even more efficient.

The "Mole"

Developed by Jarvis and DBT, this vehicle is set to revolutionize the railway infrastructure industry. It's main purpose is to remove spent ballast after rails & sleepers have been removed from a work site. Normally it would take 4-5 hours to do 400 yards using about six excavators. This machine can do the same job in about one hour. It is laser controlled to ensure a level ballast bed and can dig up to 450mm deep. New sleepers, track and ballast are then laid on the bed, possibly by an SDT/RRDT combination, and the possession time is considerably reduced. Alternatively, the possession time can stay the same, but planners can aim for a greater yardage of renewal.

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Number two is now complete, but is undergoing a few modifications resulting from the first machine's testing and acceptance. Eight more are expected to be built. For now...

Plasser & Theurer RM95RT Ballast Cleaner

Similar in many respects to the older RM74 Ballast Cleaners, the RM95RT is very flexible. As well as being able to work alone or with a rake of wagons beside it, the machine can also work in a single line system with the Plasser MFS series Spoil, Ballast and Material handling wagons. The introduction of these two machines has led to the withdrawal of the older Kershaw High Output Ballast Cleaner. Todays showpiece was 76323.

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Plasser & Theurer 09-3X Tamper

The Plasser 09-3X tamper is the fastest tamper Plasser have produced to date. Capable of tamping up to 2200 metres in an hour with even sleeper spacing, this machine trounces earlier vesions which average about 600m/h. It achieves this by having the abilty to tamp 3 sleepers at a time, and the tamping bank satellite as seen in earlier 09 series tampers. The tamping bank can also be split so it can tamper one or two sleepers at a time - useful in circumstances when, for example, the sleeper spacing is uneven.

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Finally, for those interested, there were many refurbished machines including Plasser 07-32 tamper 73429, Plasser RM74 ballast cleaner 76308, Plasser UPS5000C ballast regulator 77332, Cowans twin jib crane 78231 and Permaquip platform lift PL032. All machines, except the latter carried Jarvis' maroon livery. The platform lift sported an interesting new feature - an enclosed cab for the operator.

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All that is left to be said is a big thank you to the organisers and staff for hosting such an excellent event, and combined with the glorious weather, it certainly made a enjoyable and interesting day. Thank you, and see you next year..



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