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Rail Maintenance Vehicles and Shunting Equipment

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Steelwheel designs and manufactures special rolling stock, wagon moving equipment and shunting equipment for railway infrastructure maintenance. Our 50 years of experience with railway applications provides us with excellent knowledge in this field.

Steelwheel is specialised in manufacturing radio-controlled shunting robots, small shunting locomotives and custom railway vehicles for railway and metro maintenance.

Shunting systems, robots and locomotives for rail yards

No matter what kind of wagons you possess or how many you have to move, Steelwheel has the right machine for it. The models range from JVL cable winches for small-scale wagon moving to the OTSO-shunting locomotives series, which includes unmanned radio-controlled shunting robots for wagon moving as well as the cabin-equipped OTSO 4 and 6 shunting locomotives.

Shunting robot locomotives

Steelwheel began to develop a new kind of shunting robot 12 years ago. OTSO-shunting robots are the best choice for moving of heavy trains while loading or unloading them. The first OTSO-robot shunter was delivered to the UPM-Kymmene Jämsänkoski paper mill, and since then they have become widely used in the mining, pulp and paper, petro-chemical and chemical industries, and in ports and terminals.

Railbear 330 trolley on a Finnish main railway line: the trolley is being delivered to Destia, to be a traction work vehicle for developing railway projects.
OTSO-robot shunter 75 at Talvivaara nickel mine, where it is able to pull 2,500t trains.
Railbear trolley on the Helsinki Metro: the trolley is equipped with a Palfinger special crane and a workman basket.
Shunting locomotive coupled to a freight wagon with pneumatic-operated OTSO shunter coupler.
JVL wagon moving system in a wood terminal operation.

They are manufactured in different versions ranging from a two-axle locomotive up to a six-axle locomotive weighing 150t. Steelwheel has recently delivered machines to mining and pulp and paper companies in Asia and Scandinavia.

Many factories have realised that the cost of an old-fashioned shunting service is too high, and decided to replace the shunting locomotive and the winch with a new shunting robot. The cost savings both in labour and maintenance have been tremendous.

Diesel-hydraulic shunting locomotive

For more extensive shunting the OTSO 4 and 6 locomotives are an effective and economical solution. They are diesel-hydraulic locomotives with a 400kW-600kW diesel engine, and can be equipped with radio control.

Wagon moving winches

In 2009, Steelwheel introduced a new product for rail yards: the JVL wagon moving system. It consists of an installation-ready wagon moving winch with all necessary control and safety systems, meaning that it can be easily installed in one day.

The system can move up to 2,000t trains at loading and unloading facilities using radio controlling. The unit is easy to use and can be operated by a single person.

Rail maintenance vehicles

Steelwheel designs and manufactures railway maintenance vehicles suitable for various tasks, such as overhead line inspection, gangers, lifting and transportations of goods, ploughing of macadam or snow, etc. Trolleys are used by state railways, private railway companies and metro authorities. There are several basic designs that can be modified according to customer needs. Transmission can be hydro-dynamic or hydrostatic.

Recently Steelwheel delivered a rail maintenance vehicle for the Helsinki Metro. The Metro vehicle is equipped with a hydraulic loading crane with a workman basket. Steelwheel also delivered a rail maintenance vehicle for Destia, the largest private railroad entrepreneur in Finland.

Shunting couplings

Shunting work can be made more efficient and safety at work can be improved by using VAPITI and OTSO shunting couplers. The driver of the locomotive does not need to go between the locomotive and the wagon, but can couple or uncouple the train quickly and comfortably from within his/her cabin or by radio remote control.

Using OTSO and VAPITI couplers saves time and improves safety at work. They are ideal for radio-controlled locomotives. There are fewer accidents as it is unnecessary to go between the moving locomotive and wagon. The only manual step required is coupling and decupling of the brake line.

Railroad transportation is one of the major transportation methods for the raw materials and products of the process industry, such as the pulp and paper, chemical and petrochemical and steel sectors. It is an environmentally friendly method and the EU has put extensive effort into increasing railway transportation, but it is continuously faced by very tough competition from other transportation methods.

Road transportation has recently gained an extensive new market share from rail transport. However, with the help of modern shunting technology the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of railway transportation can be improved and the method can still be a very competitive option.


  • Ring Rail Line, Helsinki

    The Ring Rail Line is a new 18km-long commuter rail line built in Vantaa, Greater Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland. The new urban line connects the Vantaankoski line with the main line at Hiekkaharju via Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Steelwheel Oy
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