Railway maintenance teams around the country are being asked to do an increasing amount of work in shorter and shorter timescales as access to the live railway becomes ever more restricted. They therefore need to have versatile and flexible machinery to support them which can do heavy work quickly.

Colmar’s T10000FSC is a 37 tonne tracked road-rail excavator. It complies with all industry standards and can operate within the W6A loading gauge. Although there are numerous similarities between the Colmar and other road rail excavators, there are two big differences.

Novel features

Firstly, the T10000FSC has a moveable 11- tonne counterweight which can be extended by up to 940 mm, allowing the machine to lift heavier loads.

Secondly, the drive tracks can be hydraulically extended outwards, increasing the span between them and giving two benefits. The larger footprint increases stability, again enhancing the lifting capacity to eight tonnes at a seven metre reach. In addition, the tracks clear the ends of conventional plain-track sleepers, reducing damage and once again improving stability.

When reaching site, the operator extends the drive tracks outwards, and then retracts the rail wheels allowing the whole machine to settle down onto the ballast. Once its work is done, the process is reversed. There is an audible warning which prevents the machine from moving off on the railway with its tracks still extended.

Colmar’s T10000FSC is a 37 tonne tracked road-rail excavator. It complies with all industry standards and can operate within the W6A loading gauge. Although there are numerous similarities between the Colmar and other road rail excavators, there are two big differences.

The first T10000FSC has arrived in the UK, and now forms part of the QTS hire fleet. The addition of this new piece of kit means that QTS now possesses both the largest road rail excavator and the smallest – a 2.5 tonne Takeuchi.

Controlled power

The machine was originally developed and built by Colmar in Italy. After delivery to the UK, QTS engineers have equipped it with the latest control software from GKD Technik. This system, which has been rigorously tested and complies with the RIS1530 standard, allows the operator to manage both the machine’s lifting height and load. If there is any danger of an overload, the lifting process is brought to a halt.

In addition to the GKD Technik control system, the steel cab comes fitted with safety tinted glass and an ergonomic seat for the operator, allowing convenient and safe access to the control console, foot pedals and hand levers.

The T10000FSC is powered by a turbocharged Deutz direct-injection diesel engine running two powerful variable- displacement, axial-piston hydraulic pumps running at a maximum pressure of 350 bar. When running on its tracks, it uses two independent, two-step, axial-piston motors with speed ranges set from a switch on the operator’s console. There is a multi-disk brake system which is spring applied and has an automatic hydraulic release.

The four flanged rail wheels are each powered by a variable displacement radial piston hydraulic motor. There are three speed ranges, which can be switched without stopping the machine, and independent front and rear drum brakes.

To ensure that the T10000FSC can perform as many different tasks as possible, it can be fitted with a range of different accessories including rail pincers, hydraulic or mechanical frames beams for moving sleepers, a tamping unit, a hydraulic hammer and a hydraulic bush/grass cutter.

Safety first

As the T10000FSC is now the largest road- rail machine in QTS’ fleet, operational safety is a major consideration. The machine is fitted with an emergency hydraulic system, operated by a manual pump, so that it can perform specific safety related manoeuvres even in the absence of power.

The lifting boom is equipped with an electro-hydraulic device which ensures that the T10000FSC cannot extend beyond its safe working range or elevation. There is also a load limiter. For additional safety, the lifting cylinders are equipped with blocking valves. These prevent the lifted load from descending in the case of power failure or disruption to the hydraulic circuit.

The new Colmar T10000FSC is a welcome addition to QTS’ already impressive fleet of versatile and specialist vehicles. The company seems to specialise in running equipment not available elsewhere, all of which offer improved performance to deliver cost-effective results.