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All You Need to Know About Hi-Rail Equipment Inspections

The term ‘Hi-Rail’ describes equipment that has been designed to be able to operate on both railway tracks and conventional roads. These types of machines, also known as road rail vehicles, have standard rubber wheels with the inclusion of retractable flanged steel wheels (rail wheels) that can be lowered or raised as required, enabling them to perform required maintenance on the railway overheads or on trains. Hi-rail equipment services local, state, and national rail networks, and is vital to ensuring that trains and associated infrastructure are in prime condition.  

Hi-rail equipment often used on rail maintenance projects includes:   

  • Hi-rail telehandlers 
  • Hi-rail trucks 
  • Hi-rail excavators 
  • Hi-rail dump trucks 
  • Hi-rail cranes 
  • Hi-rail EWPs 

Why does hi-rail equipment require inspections? 

For hi-rail machinery to comply with the Rail Safety National Law National Regulations (2012) and the Australian Standard (AS 7502:2016), regular inspection and maintenance procedures need to be undertaken. Records must be kept showing that critical safety equipment maintenance on the road rail vehicle is up to date and complete. These records need to also contain defects reported during service and/or inspection, the corrective action taken, and the independent checking of this.  

Hi-rail vehicle inspections comprise both pre-start inspections by a staff member and inspections performed by an experienced hi-rail mechanic service provider like SuperService™.    

What is involved in a hi-rail vehicle inspection? 

Although dependent on the equipment type, a pre-start inspection should cover critical safety systems of the hi-rail vehicle as outlined in the equipment specific prestart checklist.  

Some typical checks are: 

  • Brakes 
  • Speedometer  
  • Horn 
  • Lights/beacons 
  • Rail guidance system (RGS) 
  • Tyre tread 
  • Rail wheel inspection  
  • Engine fluids  

A routine inspection regime by a qualified service provider is a more thorough examination of the equipment’s many components to ensure all parts and elements meet the safety requirements before, during, and after travelling on the railway tracks. By certifying operational reliability and safety through a documented inspection schedule, a hi-rail vehicle is given the green light for operating on track.  

According to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), this routine inspection involves, but is not limited to, checking the following components: 

  • The RGS, which includes mandated periodicity of twist tests, brake tests, and non-destructive testing to ensure the structural integrity of the RGS. 
  • Rail wheels, which includes checking for wear, gauge, bearings, seals, axles, and suspension.  
  • Transmission 
  • Controls 
  • Engine 
  • Brakes 
  • Electrical system 
  • Body and under frame 
  • Safety devices 
  • Hi-rail assemblies for any loose or missing parts 
  • Warning light 
  • Backup alarm 

At the conclusion of the inspection, a written report should be provided, and necessary recommendations discussed with you to ensure your vehicle complies with the safety standards. 

How often does my hi-rail vehicle need to be inspected? 

The ONRSR outlines that hi-rail vehicles need to have their RGS inspected and tested every 6 months or every 10,000 kilometres on track. However, vehicles with high rates of on-track usage need to be inspected more regularly, at every 3 months or every 5,000 kilometres.   

Final thoughts 

Hi-rail vehicle inspections are a critical part of achieving compliance with safety standards. The knowledge, experience, and attention to detail that the SuperService™ team provides ensures that your hi-rail equipment is in capable hands, meaning that you can get back to work as soon as possible.  

Contact us to learn more about how we can help with all your hi-rail vehicle inspection or maintenance needs. SuperService are the Heavy Equipment Specialists.

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