This article first appeared in the Railway-News Magazine Issue 3 2023.
Harsco Rail had the opportunity to collaborate with Saudi Arabian Railways (SAR) in December 2022 to enhance rail conditions across their network.
As an infrastructure owner, SAR has the responsibility to ensure that the rails are in excellent condition, without defects, which result in improved ride quality and the prevention of potential incidents due to rail failure. Therefore, SAR engaged with Harsco Rail to perform a high-quality grinding process to achieve their rail quality goals.
After initial consultations, Harsco Rail’s team recommended the 20-stone Transit Switch Grinder, which was specially designed for the type of tracks in Saudi Arabia. This grinder has advanced features, 130 including precision controls, automated functions and durable construction that could withstand the demands of heavy use. Additionally, it is highly effective in removing rail defects such as RCF, corrugation, lipping, etc., both in plain lines and switches.
Harsco Rail made sure that the machine was sufficiently crewed with a team of experienced operators and mechanics, established a local stock of spare parts and consumables, built a mobile warehouse and workshop, and planned 235 shifts per year. As a result, the machine had an availability rate of 98.6% until today, and ongoing support is provided to ensure the grinder continues to perform optimally over time.
To date, Harsco Rail has performed rail grinding on over 250kms while reprofiling the rails to industry standards, achieving an average rail roughness of 4 microns. Well-maintained rails will result in significant savings for SAR, as grinding removes rail surface defects, which are a common cause of rail failures, and significantly reduce wear on running components on rolling stock.
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