Windhoek — Last week, Deputy Minister of Works and Transport Sankwasa James Sankwasa, commissioned a new Tamping machine for TransNamib. The machine, which is a 08-16 Split Head Model was procured for N$22 million from the manufacturer, Plasser & Theurer of Austria through their South African agent, with funding from government.
The on-track machineries play a vital role in the maintenance of railway tracks. These are complex and expensive railway maintenance machines which services some track activities which can only be done by such mechanised track equipment.
TransNamib previously had two heavy duty Tamping machines which originated from the South African Transport Services in 1986. These machines were manufactured in the late 1950's. Only one of the machines is available and it is currently not operational due to mechanical problems and the spare parts are not readily available. The other machine was scrapped hence the urgent need to acquire a new tamping machine.
The Tamping machine is powered by DEUTZ diesel engine and can travel across the country at speeds of up to 60mph (100km/h). This modern high-performance tamping machine has a measurement system to enable it to understand where faults exist on the track.
This measurement system requires three trolleys - one at the front of the machine, one in the centre (known as the measuring trolley) and one to the rear.
This 08-16 Split Head heavy duty ballast tamping machine is an essential item of equipment used for correcting and maintaining the geometry of the railway track, i.e. vertical and horizontal alignments as well as super-elevation on curves as it removes the vertical roughness of the track.
The 08-16 tamping machine is able to fulfil a maximum tamping rate of 22 sleepers per minute; provide a working tamping rate of 19 sleepers per minute; provide a maximum lift of 100mm and a maximum slew 50mm.
As part of the agreement with Plasser South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Maintenance Support and Training of TransNamib's Operating staff form part of the package. Thus, the supplier provided a full time fitter to supervise the operation and maintenance of the machine for six months. Hands-on-training was provided to TransNamib staff to operate the machine and carry out day-to-day maintenance. TransNamib has emphasised that it is essential to have well-qualified personnel at the machine in order to carry out maintenance at the highest level. To date, three TransNamib employees received on the job training to operate the machine and carry out the daily maintenance. Two of the staff members received theoretical training, i.e. one for machine operator course and another for a machine fitter course in South Africa. In total, 48 employees, of which 40 are project workers, work along the machine.
Since its arrival, the tamping machine has already worked in various part of the country covering approximately 350km. It has tamped some sections between Windhoek and Mariental (124 km), between Windhoek and Karibib (121 km), and between Oshikango and Omuthiya (105 km).
Caption: An illustrative image of a Tamping machine which was recently commissioned by TransNamib for railway maintenance work. Photo: Contributed