Resilient fastenings for plantation and industrial light gauge lines

The Australian sugar growing areas extend along some 2 000 kilometres of the north eastern coastline from Mossman in North Queensland to Grafton in the northern part of New South Wales. During the harvest season, which lasts from June to December, about 25 million tonnes of sugar cane are crushed by 29 individual raw sugar mills. Twenty-four of these mills own and operate their own private railway systems. These systems transport about 23.5 million tonnes (about 210 x 106 tonne-km) of cane per annum over 3 500 route kilometres of 610 millimetre gauge track in a period of less than 26 weeks. A total of 250 diesel hydraulic locomotives of up to 40 tonnes with powers up to 500 kilowatts are used. Rolling stock used has a load capacity of from four to ten tonnes. Almost 50 thousand four-wheeled vehicles and a limited number of bogey vehicles are used. When the Australian sugar industry was established late last century sugar cane was manually cut and loaded onto flat topped four wheel waggons of about two tonne capacity. These waggons were then hauled (often by horse teams) along portable railway track from the field to the main line where they were hauled to the mill by steam locomotives. This system served the industry well until the 1950's when diesel-hydraulic locomotives were introduced and mechanical harvesting of the cane led to the eventual elimination of portable track. In the ten years from 1960, tracks were extended into new growing areas and train speeds increased. Except for the introduction of prestressed concrete sleepers and an increase in rail size from 20 kg/m to 30 kg/m few improvements to the track structure or maintenance practices were implemented even though increased tonnages at higher speeds were being handled. When prestressed concrete sleepers for eight tonne axle loads were introduced about 30 years ago, truly resilient fastenings were not developed although several types of fasteners manufactured from spring steel found acceptance. The Pandrol CF2 was part of this group. The lack of fastener elasticity was not detrimental to either the sleeper or its performance in track until about 1982 when, as tonnages hauled, train speeds and lengths continued to increase, it became evident that both the sleeper and fastening system were inadequate for the increased duty.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 3p. ; PDF
  • Monograph Title: Permanent Way Institution (PWI) NSW, 1994 annual convention

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01711409
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 19 2019 2:24PM