KiwiRail has signed an agreement with Speno Rail Maintenance Australia (Speno) to supply a 51m specialised rail grinding machine to maintain 2,800km of track in New Zealand.
The $30m RR24M-30A rail grinder, which will undertake rail surface smoothing work, is scheduled to arrive in August 2012, while track work is expected to start in September.
The grinding work will initially be carried out along the major rail routes, starting with the East Coast Main Trunk and North Island Main Trunk.
KiwiRail said that over time track railheads develop stress points, defects and metal build up from the steel wheels travelling on steel track.
The work will enhance the reliability and speed at which trains can travel, extend the life of the track and minimise the risk of derailment by smoothing and eliminating defect metal from the railhead.
KiwiRail acting chief executive David Walsh said that grinding has some long-term cost saving benefits, such as reduced fuel use, as trains can travel with less effort and less track and wheel maintenance is required.
"There are no machines like it in New Zealand and the gauge of our tracks also makes it harder to source exactly the right machine so we are pretty happy to have found the most suitable piece of equipment," Walsh said.
"Given the only other option would be to build a machine from scratch it was the most cost-effective option, especially considering that once complete the track will not need to be done again for a number of years."
Image: Speno will deliver its $30m RR24M-30A rail grinder to New Zealand in August to undertake rail surface smoothing work. Photo: courtesy of KiwiRail.