This light Mitsubishi Canter truck is owned by Australia Western Railroad. Hirail Equipment by Aries Engineering running on 42"/1067mm gauge.
The picture was taken in August 2005 at Watheroo. The lines main traffic is wheat. A train is shunting XW and similar series grain wagons on the mainline in the background. The track worker is repairing a scotch block that sits over the line leading to the grain silo.
Its my impression that AWR use these for a range of purposes. Last trip I saw one near Walkaway doing a track inspection.
Since I last travelled extensively, someone has spent a lot of money upgrading a lot of the infrastructure in the region. Numerous crossings have active protection, and there have been lots of new sleepers put in.
The first ARIES Mitsubishi Canter went on track with Australian National Railways in Adelaide mid 1994 . The photo is of a Version One unit. There is an improvement in geometry with Version 2.
They operate over the three mainline gauges . The 1067mm have an elevated front, the 1435 and 1600mm have road wheel modifications for all wheel contact .
At least 60, probably more, would have gone into hirail service alone since 1996 and the crew cab is being considered by several operators as an alternative to the landcruisers because of payload. In the majority, the hirail is deployed by hydraulic cylinders from in-cab controls but several were fitted with hydraulic rotary actuators .
The applications are varied but the service history excellent . One in the West has completed 350000 km and remains in top condition.
Other than track inspection / spot maintenance applications include access platforms and crane loaders .
The 4wd version has a low tray height making tray access for maintenance spares from single line elevated track not too bad .
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Thanks to David Hinwood of Aries Engineering for his comments.
Uploaded September 5, 2005 © Nic Doncaster
Updated November 16, 2005