Australian first rail steel sleeper system undergoes trials

Arc Infrastructure is the first rail network in Australia to trial a new steel sleeper system, with the system being implemented on the Leonora to Kalgoorlie line.

A re-sleepering program in Arc Infrastructure’s Goldfields region saw the introduction of the new system, with the innovative design providing an alternative solution to more traditional steel sleepers and hard to source timber sleepers. The sleepers are also expected to deliver cost benefits over the life of the asset as well as improving reliability. 

Arc Infrastructure’s Head of Network Strategy and Long Term Planning, Michal Golinski,led the research program and procurement of the new system after a worldwide search.

“We are the first in Australia to use this type of steel sleeper which we’ve had slightly modified to better suit our installation processes,” Mr Golinski said.

The sleepers are also delivered with all fastenings attached as one unit and as such reduce the number of steps within the installation process for the teams on the ground.

This particular sleeper system is expected to out-perform traditional steel and timber sleepers due to a longer design life and improved reliability.

“The sleepers can also be recycled into new steel products, helping to reduce waste and our carbon footprint,” Mr Golinski said. 

The $2.3 million program involved the replacement of over 6,000 sleepers and the upgrade of a further 2,400 sleeper plates.

Arc Infrastructure will assess the performance of the steel sleeper over future years and will continue to fine tune processes to better optimise the performance of the sleeper and track.

The re-sleepering work was carried out by Arc Infrastructure’s local maintenance and major projects teams and local contractors over a two month period.

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