Mechan flagship rail lifting jacks in action

Choosing the right equipment for a modern rail depot is no walk in the park. There are so many variables to consider. So, where do you turn for advice?

There are probably consultants looking you up on LinkedIn right now who will offer their expertise at a price, but no one knows rail equipment better than the manufacturers. The people who are innovating, designing and modifying their creations to improve maintenance times and depot safety.

At the forefront of the rail industry’s quest for pitstop style servicing is Sheffield-based Mechan, specialists in the manufacture of bespoke depot lifting and handling equipment. The firm prides itself on building collaborative relationships with clients. It doesn’t simply supply off-the-shelf products; it shares its knowledge and experience to find the right solution for each unique project.

Selecting a lifting system
Modern trains and dedicated routes for particular vehicle types have changed the face of depot maintenance, demanding lifting methods that do not require decoupling.

When clients come to Mechan looking to raise multicar trains, in-depth discussions take place to determine the most suitable equipment.

The firm met recently with a longstanding customer, who requires multiple lifting systems. After discussing how its facilities usually work, Mechan advised that a vehicle lift would be most useful for campaign changes and overhauls, whilst bogie drops might be more suitable for casualty work. Its team of expert engineers explained the pros and cons of each system and the client went away to consider its options.

Underfloor lifters allow an entire train to be raised at the press of a button, giving access below for bogies and equipment modules to be removed, whereas bogie drops facilitate underfloor module replacement at track level. The vehicle is positioned centrally on the bridge section of the drop, where built-in jacks take its weight. The bridge is then lowered into a pit with the bogie onboard and traversed away for work to take place. Using this method of maintenance, a complete bogie change is feasible in just two hours.

Another popular alternative for lifting coupled vehicles is Mechan’s flagship railcar jacks. The length of the train determines how many are required, but sets of up to 64 are possible, thanks to the firm’s sophisticated control system. Four jacks raise each carriage and once in position, the remote controller facilitates a completely synchronised lift.

Mechan equipment drop

So, which is best?
There is no disputing the fact that jacks will always be present above floor level and this may pose an issue if space is at a premium. However, they are ideal if multiple train types in different configurations are being serviced.

Underfloor lifting is the perfect solution if the same train, in the same configuration is being maintained, but it has its disadvantages too. Consider the implications should the operating company decide to add an extra carriage. This is not a regular occurrence, but the associated cost and disruption would be enormous.

In many cases, the civil engineering requirements of the relative systems will play a large part in the decision-making process. Access pits for jacks are much smaller than those required for bogie drops or underfloor lifters, producing a considerable cost saving.

Lindsey Mills, Mechan’s Sales Director, concludes: ‘The complex business of specifying rail maintenance equipment is not black and white. That is why we like to forge relationships with our customers and share our expertise. Our products are built to last, so it is essential we get the decision right.’

To find out more about the consultancy service offered by Mechan get in touch via the contact information below.

Tel: 01142 570 563
Twitter: @mechanuk