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350 kilometers of “quiet rails” in and around Dusseldorf

At the end of April 2013, Rheinbahn and Vossloh Rail Services had signed a contract for the delivery of an HSG-city. In April of this year, the grinder started operation and will work on around 350 kilometers of railway making up Düsseldorf’s urban network and including both trams and a metro. The preventive grinding technique will play a major role in reducing the noise caused by light rail traffic—an important concern for Rheinbahn and the municipality of Düsseldorf.

High-speed grinding for sustainable rail care HSG-city developed by Vossloh Rail Services is the latest edition of the globally successful HSG-2 train with its innovative high-speed grinding technique (HSG). The grinder is suitable for a variety of maintenance chores—starting from the elimination of corrugations and slip waves as well as other signs of rolling-contact fatigue down to the removal of slippery film. By abrading material of less than 0.1 mm in thickness the machine prevents the formation of a wide variety of rail surface defects and hence significantly prolongs rail life-cycles.

HSG-city is ideally tailored to the needs of municipal transport operators. One modular grinder can easily be hitched to another in order to double either working range or amount of material removed. It can be either drawn or pushed along the rails—in the Düsseldorf version, it will be drawn. Thanks to its extremely compact design and efficient suction device for absorbing and then automatically filtering dust and sparks, the HSG-city can readily be operated in tunnels. As the machine works at a speed of up to 60 km/h, it is no longer necessary to shut down sections of the tramway or metro and hence municipal rail services are not disrupted. Business as usual as far as the timetable is concerned!

Quiet rails for urban traffic
The HSG-city is a preventive maintenance machine and also an extremely effective and economical noise-abatement tool—in the best interests of local communities and hence served as a decisive argument persuading Düsseldorf’s Rheinbahn to acquire the equipment. Rail roughness—in the shape of corrugations and slip waves—is the source of the wheel-on-rail noise caused by passing trams.

Regular preventive grinding of the rail surface eliminates such noise by getting to the root of the problem. The HSG-city is specifically designed for such “acoustic” grinding of the rail head. The fifth-longest in Germany, Düsseldorf’s urban rail network will be maintained at regular intervals and noise-causing corrugations removed from the rails.

Düsseldorf’s HSG-city is the first Vossloh Rail Services grinding machine of this nature in operation. The machine’s performance specifications have already surpassed the targeted. The complex approval procedures are timed for
successful completion by mid-May of this year. Service from a single source: Vossloh Rail Services will continue to work closely with Rheinbahn whose servicing employees are being thoroughly familiarized with the machine’s operation and technology.

The purchase of the grinder is just one component of a package being adopted by Rheinbahn in its efforts to reduce annoying light-rail vehicle noise. The company is also spending on a wheel maintenance program and on overhauling
the vehicles’ drivelines.

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