Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Loram Ballast Cleaner in Winnipeg
I was driving on the Sterling Lyon Parkway here in Winnipeg on Wednesday afternoon, passing the future site of our IKEA, when I saw an odd contraption parked on the nearby stub track. It turned out to be a Loram ballast cleaner.
What does a ballast cleaner do? Well, Loram is glad you asked. It basically scoops up all the ballast from the ends of the ties outward, cleans it, and puts it back. It takes all the mud, clay, etc. that accumulates in the ballast and shoots it away well clear of the track. This mean looking contraption is what scoops up the ballast.
From here, the ballast goes by conveyor to the next piece, where it is cleaned and put back beside the track in the profile specified by the railway. You have to have the right slope to allow proper drainage. I think the back end of the contraption below (left of photo) swings out to discharge the "fines" aka dirt and clay. Note the spare brushes on top. They also brush the ends of the ties to get the loose ballast off them.
Next comes a tank car. I assume this is for fuel. On Loram grinders they carry their own water for fire-fighting, but I can't see how a ballast cleaner can cause fires. Maybe I'm missing something.
Finally, a caboose. You can see that caboose SBC-9 has been modified fairly extensively.
There are several videos of these babies on YouTube.
They sure make a lot of dust!