Keeping the world's railways on track

A South Australian innovation, REX-LOK is playing a major role in keeping trains rolling over one of the world's famous tourist railways.

Adelaide based, General & Railway Supplies, manufacturer of the REX-LOK system, has recently supplied 1600 sets of the proprietary track fastening system to the world-famous Alishan tourist railway in Taiwan.

The installation of the REX-LOK resilient track fastening system will help stabilise track formation in an area recently damaged by an earthquake. The REX-LOK track fastening system is an ingenious but essentially simple system that is proving to be a saviour for many of the worlds rail operators.

The system is in use on railways in all Australian states and has been installed on railways around the world including heavily trafficked freight railways in the United States, the BART urban rail system in San Francisco, and in Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The Alishan mountain railway in Taiwan was originally built to log the rich timber resources of the region, but with the increase of tourism the railway now plays a pivotal role in transporting people to and from one of the country's top tourist resorts. The railway operates through spectacular scenery and difficult terrain, including 50 tunnels and over 70 bridges. It operates in often extreme climatic conditions and climbs  over 2200 metres on its 72 kilometre journey. General & Railway Supplies is also undertaking an assessment of the Alishan railway's future economic and safety requirements in relation to its track infrastructure.

The Managing Director of REX-LOK, Mr Robert Rex said, "Installation of the REX-LOK rail fastening system provides a more stable rail structure.This results in extended life for the timber sleepers and also reduces ongoing maintenance costs." "REX-LOK is a resilient track fastening system that produces significant benefits through increasing the overall life of track components and track formation." Closer to home, REX-LOK fastenings will be used to stabilise the track structure on a Centenary of Federation project in SW Tasmania to restore the famous Abt mountain railway.

Running between Queenstown and Strahan, the Abt railway was closed and dismantled in the early 1960s, but is being completely restored at a cost of over $20 million. In order to secure the best economic and heritage outcomes, timber sleepers will be used and, REX-LOK fastenings are being installed on one out of every four sleepers. This will maintain the stability of the track in difficult terrain and extend the life of these sleepers, thereby reducing maintenance costs for the railway.

Last year, REX-LOK was successful against international tenderers to supply resilient track fastenings for installation on 330 kilometres of the interstate track in Victoria. The condition of the railway line between Melbourne and Albury was rapidly deteriorating, but it is now undergoing a $20 million plus upgrade as part of the Commonwealth Government's rail infrastructure funding program. The installation of the REX-LOK system is one of five key steps that form a comprehensive track rehabilitation program that has been implemented by the track owner, Australian Rail Track Corporation.

REX-LOK resilient fastenings have been installed on all timber sleepers and turnout timbers between Melbourne and Albury, replacing dog spikes and rail anchors, a technology that dates back to the 19th century. The supply and installation of the fastenings was completed on time and within budget.

It is estimated that REX-LOK fastenings will increase the residual life of the track formation by 30%, at the same time allowing increases in axle loads and speeds without recourse to costly infrastructure works. The installation of resilient fastenings along with a timber sleeper replacement cycle will achieve the Australian Transport Council standards for train speeds and axle loads at 20% of the cost of traditional concrete re-sleepering. Mr Rex concluded by saying, "The REX-LOK fastenings were installed without any major inconvenience to train operators.

This important upgrade will assist in allowing higher speeds, heavier trains and more dependable services to operate on this corridor creating a win-win outcome for the rail industry.

The capacity of the existing infrastructure is increased and at the same time, maintenance costs are reduced. In turn it contributes to the rail industry's overall aim of providing a more efficient and reliable transport option for Australian business and industry."

For more information contact: Robert Rex - 08 8365 4844 (REX-LOK) or Mark Carter - 0408 800 903 (GRMS Media)


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