GERMAN Railway engineers worked with Robel on the development of the 16.01 rail milling machine, which can be used to repair turnout crossings and prolong their service life. DB standards only permit the repair of rigid crossings with cracks up to 20m depth, with more severe defects requiring expensive and disruptive replacement which necessitates disassembling the turnout.

The 2 kW milling machine has been designed around the aim of reducing the time a turnout is out of service, allowing staff to make optimal use of short possessions. It can be quickly mounted on the rail, and uses a 400V AC motor and 16-20mm cutter to remove up to 7 kg of steel per hour for rapid grinding down to the fault, producing an even surface for subsequent flash-butt welding.

According to Dr Thomas Hunter of Robel, in work on German Railway the miller has reduced the time taken to remove defects from a turnout from 12h to around 2h, with the cost cut from €12500 to around €2500.

Robel Bahnbaumaschinen, Germany