TransNamib’s new tamping machine essential to maintain railway tracks’ geometry
TransNamib’s new tamping machine, a rolling contraption that checks track alignment, has already completed checking about 350 km of tracks. The machine was officially inaugurated this week at a ceremony at Omuthiya.
Upon arrival, the N$22 million tamping machine was put to immediate work to identify and rectify misalignments in the track. A 124 km section between Windhoek and Mariental received first attention followed by a 121 km section between Windhoek and Karibib, and lately, a 105 km section between Oshikango and Omuthiya.
The new tamper, a 08-16 Split Head model, is manufactured by the company Plasser & Theurer in Austria. It was obtained through the company’s South African agent with funding assistance to the parastatal from the government.
TransNamib’s previous two tamping machines, also from Plasser & Theurer, stem from the 1950s. One is not operational due to mechanical problems and a lack of spares and the other is unserviceable.
The tamping machine is powered by a DEUTZ diesel engine and can travel at speeds of up to 100 km/h although regular checking and maintenance is done at a snail’s pace covering about 19 sleepers every minute. The machine is essential for correcting and maintaining track geometry in both vertical and horizontal planes. It also measures and adjusts outside-track elevation in bends.
Plasser South Africa provides maintenance support and operator training. TransNamib’s technical staff has been trained to operate the machine, do regular maintenance and trouble shooting.
For the machine to operate optimally, a cohort of 48 workers is required.