Track maintenance without machines? No way, today!
For 30 years, Plasser & Theurer machines have been used in Kosovo. Compact technology has proven its efficiency during revitalising works on the railway lines between Serbia and Macedonia.
Responsible for the infrastructure in Kosovo, Infrastructure of Kosovo Railways J.S.C. (Infrakos) operates several generations of Plasser & Theuer machines. In recent years, the company has mainly set store by compact technology.
In 2016, the SWM 15 sleeper exchange machine was acquired. "It allows us to work in both directions," explains Shefki Krasniqi, Head of Maintenance Machines at Infrakos. Simple in design, the hydraulic turntable, located in the centre of the machine, allows this. Referred to as "Shefki" by his co-workers, he has been working for the country's railway for more than 15 years. The experience of his team even goes back to machines of the 07 series. What does he think of Plasser & Theurer? "Whenever we needed advice or support, we could count on the assistance of the Austrian company, over the phone or in person."
Three years ago, he put the Plasser 08-16 SH universal tamping machine into operation. What does he think of the machine today? "Our machine operators have become familiar with the new technology. The Plasser 08-16 SH is a very progressive machine. Together with the manufacturer, we have been able to operate it without difficulty." By now, the machine's tamping counter shows some 500,000 tamping insertions. It is in operation almost every day.
The railway in Kosovo is planning to revitalise the existing tracks. This includes the exchange of old sleepers and tamping works: 10,000 to 15,000 m of track are scheduled to be tamped and at least 20 to 30 sleepers will be exchanged per month. However, the machine can do much more. For the SWM 15 sleeper exchange machine and the Plasser 08-16 SH universal tamping machine, these tasks present only minor challenges. We have already received positive feedback from Infrakos: According to Shefki Krasniqi, "the Plasser & Theurer machines increase the safety and availability of our network."
For operation in 2018, another track tamping machine from the well-proven 08-16 series has already been ordered.
The SWM 15: sleeper exchange made easy
Without difficulty, the SWM 15 sleeper exchange machine removes old sleepers and installs new ones.
Step 1: Lifting the rails, removing the defective sleeper, repositioning the gripper, turning the sleeper and depositing it at the side.
Step 2: Picking up the predeposited new sleeper, turning it and installing it.
On stable ground, the SWM 15 can change its direction of work without difficulty. To do so, a turntable is placed underneath the machine. The centred lifting device lifts the machine. Two persons suffice to turn the machine by 180 degrees. Then, the lifting cylinder retracts and softly positions the machine on the rails again. At Infrakos, the SWM 15 is operated together with an OBW Sprinter and the Plasser 08-16 SH universal tamping machine. This makes it possible to carry out the tasks required before and after exchanging the sleepers, such as predepositing, loading and tamping the sleepers.