Drones just one technology solution ARTC exploring to keep rail safe and efficient in Hunter Valley

USING drones that film in 4K video to undertake technical bridge inspections is just one of the tasks that ARTC’s Hunter Valley team has been doing in the lead up to the first major rail maintenance shutdown of 2018. 

The Australian Rail Track Corporation’s (ARTC) group executive – Hunter Valley Wayne Johnson said ARTC continues to look at new and efficient ways to run one of the most complex rail networks in the country. 

“Using drones to inspect critical structures like rail bridges is just one of the technology solutions we have been employing to make our rail network safer, more efficient and reliable,” he said.

“Other recent examples include selecting GE’s Movement Planner technology to optimise our network control operations and conducting earthworks using GPS-guided machinery.” 

Drones are increasingly being employed across the rail industry to help inspect structures as it is a faster, more efficient and importantly, safer, way of delivering the work which previously required long hours, cherry pickers or cranes and often put people in difficult position to review structures visually. 

“A drone removes the need for slow moving equipment, harnesses and the dangers of working at heights and there is the added benefit of being able to record the inspection for future reference and review in high resolution,” Mr Johnson said.

ARTC has shared vision from a recent inspection ahead of the first major maintenance shutdown on its rail network this year between February 20 and 23.

The works will take place over 72 hours across more than 120 different project sites. 

Essential works including bridge repairs and replacements, re-railing, rail grinding, track reconditioning, signal works and other corridor maintenance tasks will take place during the three-day work window. 

Shutdown major public road/level crossing closures

* Rosemount Road, Denman, on Thursday, February 22, to replace the bearers under the crossing tin tops. It is a complete road closure, and detours will be in place. Traffic control contractors have been engaged for this work. 

* Merriwa Road, Willow Tree 

The scope includes: 

1. Installation on new pedestrian crossing city side of Merriwa Road 

2. Installation of new under track drainage city side of Merriwa Road 

3. Installation of concrete pathways / drainage to new pedestrian crossing each side of rail corridor 

4. Installation of extension to existing path way in Humble Street 

The works are largely planned for daylight hours (6am to 6pm) but will run until March 1.  Alternative traffic and pedestrian movement plans are in place. Short delays may be experienced. 

* Roxburgh Road level crossing (on Ulan Line near Muswellbrook) will be closed for maintenance on Tuesday morning, February 20, and will last for approximately one hour while the track machine passes. Works are scheduled to occur between 8am and 10am, but it may vary.

This story Hunter Valley team flies into maintenance in 2018 first appeared on Muswellbrook Chronicle.