Rift Valley Railway has received two high capacity railway track maintenance machines that will automate and significantly speed up the process of track maintenance.
The Ballast Tamper and Ballast Profiler machines which cost about UGX 3 billion, arrived in Mombasa last weekend; and can restore a kilometre of track per hour to the technically correct design, compared to only 40 metres per hour using manual maintenance crews. This will result in enhanced track stability and lifting of speed restrictions on the 500kms of curves along the track that will receive priority attention.
The high end equipment is manufactured by Austrian firm Plasser & Theurer, the pioneer and global leader in mechanized railway track maintenance technology.
Speaking about the arrival of the equipment the RVR’s General Manager Western Mark Rumanyika said “this is the latest Capital investment the company is making aimed at improving the quality of the line, last year we reopened Uganda’s Northern line after extensive rehabilitation and replaced 70km of worn out rail between Mombasa & Nairobi” cutting journey times between the two cities by over six hours”.
The two machines will work in tandem: the Ballast Profiler ensuring even distribution of ballast along the line and its shoulders; and the Ballast Tamper securing the precise alignment of the rail tracks.
The equipment will be commissioned next month following training of RVR engineers by the manufacturers.
Maintaining optimum track alignment and uniform spreading of ballast on railway tracks is important due to the unsettling that occurs from the movement of heavy trains.