Hi-rail vehicles 101

While there are activities that are similar on all construction jobs, not all equipment used is the same. When it comes to building, or maintaining, a railway, we use specialised construction vehicles that can travel on and off the tracks to perform a variety of tasks.

Image of a flash butt welder

Called hi-rail vehicles (because they can travel on highways and railways), these hybrid machines can be operated on rail tracks and conventional roads.
You will notice these vehicles in action along sections of the Narrabri to North Star Phase 1 project where the new track has been laid.

Hi-rail vehicles are fitted with additional steel wheels and hydraulic systems that can raise and lower the vehicle onto the rail.

On any given day, the number of hi-rail vehicles operating on the project may vary depending on the tasks being completed. To date, hi-rail vehicles used on the project have included:

  • Flash butt welder that uses an electrical current to fuse two pieces of rail together (seen in the image above)
  • Hi-rail excavator with multiple attachments. Examples include a ballast brush that is used to clear ballast from around the rail and a sleeper grab attachment that can pick up sleepers and move them across the tracks (these two can be seen in the images below)
  • Hi-rail dump truck to deliver track ballast to locations not accessible by road

All our hi-rail drivers hold a track machine operator’s license to ensure they have the required competencies to drive these vehicles.


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