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July 2022

Rail News: MOW

Technology update: Rail grinding and milling 2022

Orgo-Thermit Inc. rail grinding vehicles can enter and exit a grade crossing within 60 seconds, maximizing available track time and efficiency.
Photo – Orgo-Thermit Inc.


Compiled by Grace Renderman, Associate Editor

Orgo-Thermit Inc. 

The Orgo-Thermit Inc. rail grinding division offers grinding vehicles designed to maximize available track time. The vehicles can enter and exit a grade crossing within 60 seconds, which provides high-level efficiency and allows the vehicle to be stationed closer to the job site for longer spark time when track occupancy permits, Orgo-Thermit officials said in an email. 

The company can accommodate client needs for any profiles, officials said. Orgo-Thermit’s grinding machines meet the criteria of the ISO-3095 acoustics measurement with normal grinding. Also, the company has added a Rail Grinding Measurement System to one of its vehicles to ensure the proper profiles are achieved according to client needs, company officials said. 

Eddy-current testing, a method of nondestructive electromagnetic inspection, is offered at each job site to allow crews to pre- and post-scan track for the removal of rolling contact fatigue. Orgo-Thermit can also use this technology to scan a system to determine where the best areas are to start and stop grinding programs. 

Vossloh Rail Services North America 

Vossloh Rail Services North America’s high-speed grinding technology can eliminate rolling contact fatigue quickly at operating speeds of over 40 mph.
Vossloh Rail Services North America

Vossloh Rail Services North America has recently expanded its machine and service portfolio to include client-tailored solutions. The company’s VTM-compact milling machine can preserve rails with deep cracks, defects or severe cross-profile changes instead of having to replace them earlier and at a higher cost, Vossloh officials said. 

The machine is ideal for fire-restricted areas because it can remove up to 2 millimeters of material per pass without fire or dust hazards, company officials added. 

“The greatest challenge we hear [about] from our customers these days is track availability,” said Tobias Guenther, director of operations for Vossloh. “At the same time, the aim is to minimize the life-cycle cost by shifting from a corrective to a preventive maintenance approach.” 

The company’s high-speed grinding technology can eliminate rolling contact fatigue quickly at operating speeds of over 40 mph without closing or preparing the track. Also, the grinding machine is equipped with “smart” technology that measures the longitudinal and cross profile, allowing better preventative maintenance planning, company officials said. 

Vossloh now offers the Flexis system through its North American division. Flexis combines accurate measuring techniques with hand-guided machines, providing rail maintenance of complete turnouts and common grade crossing assemblies.  

Geismar North America Inc. 

The “Metal Wizard” from Geismar North America Inc. includes self-contained air filtration and a collection unit.
Geismar North America Inc.

Geismar North America Inc. recently supplied a hi-rail truck for the new Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) transit project in Hawaii. The Geismar model, dubbed the “Metal Wizard,” is an eight-stone radio-controlled grinding module that includes self-contained air filtration and a collection unit. The vehicle is also fitted with Geismar’s bogie hi-rail system, allowing the vehicle to negotiate sharp radius curves without the risk of derailment, making it ideal for transit systems, Geismar officials said.  

The Metal Wizard helps with corrugation control, preventative grinding for gauge corner cracking and decarbonization to ensure proper signaling. The hi-rail version allows users to access the system from several different points to minimize travel time on the rail. It’s equipped with a hydrostatic drive, ensuring equal travel speeds in forward and reverse gear. 

Additionally, the vehicle can be equipped with a crane that enables the grinding module to be turned off and used for other tasks through the deck. That way, the Metal Wizard can be multifunctional year-round, company officials said. 

Loram Maintenance of Way Inc. 

Loram Maintenance of Way Inc.’s Rail Pro® Infinity is designed to be flexible enough to reach an approximate match to a given template.
Loram Maintenance of Way Inc.

Loram Maintenance of Way Inc.’s Rail Pro® Infinity is designed to generate custom machine-pattern configurations in real time to grind any rail profile to a desired template while only removing the required amount of metal. RG400-series production rail grinders do the job quicker and more efficiently, allowing for better control of grinding pattern combinations to maximize rail life, Loram officials said. Creating patterns allows a rail grinder to be flexible enough to reach an approximate match to the given template on a track segment. 

Since its launch more than three years ago, the Rail Pro Infinity has resulted in a systemwide grind quality index increase of 4.6%, officials said. Subsequent cycles have achieved a 4% reduction of required depth of cut on high rails and 6% on low rails. The product also provides reductions in vertical wear rates, equal to an increase in rail lifespan up to 19% per rail, company officials said. 

Plasser American Corp. 

Plasser American Corp.’s ROMILL Urban 3 E3 eliminates harmful exhaust emissions like nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
Plasser American Corp.

Plasser American Corp.’s ROMILL Urban 3 E3 is the first hybrid milling machine that can operate up to three hours on battery power only, Plasser American officials said. Additionally, the integrated Tier 4 final diesel engine acts as a quick charger while working, providing back-up power.  

The battery power enables full damage removal, 100% profile restoration and operations free of spark and dust. With the lack of any harmful exhaust emissions like nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, there is no health concern for operators and other maintenance crews in tunnels, company officials said. The battery also generates very low noise levels, allowing the ROMILL to operate in densely populated areas, and generates almost no heat — extending the operational capabilities in tunnels and closed environments. 

The ROMILL incorporates advanced milling technology from Robel Bahnbaumaschinen GmbH and Schweerbau International GmbH & Co. KG. Plasser American will begin offering milling contract services by the fourth quarter, company officials said. 


The Compact-Shear B-M-VIR provides lightweight, battery-operated weld shearing.

Pandrol’s Compact-Shear B-M-VIR provides a solution to zero-emission shearing. Made to operate with an included battery-operated non-impact drill, the chuck attachment allows for easier installation of the shear and allows for quick operation on the track, Pandrol officials said. The hydraulic system also provides adequate shearing force for welds on various types of vignole rails. 

The company’s Precision Frog Grinder is a track-mounted hydraulic grinder designed to refinish grinding of rail frogs. It can be used after field welding and repairs to frogs using multiple axis grinding adjustments for consistent grinding. Operators can easily set up and adjust the grinder to ensure consistent refinishing grinds, minimizing the need for additional frog maintenance, company officials said. 

Pandrol’s Head-Wash Grinder is a hydraulic-powered, track-mounted machine used to efficiently grind the head of the rail in preparation for head-wash repair and aluminothermic welding. Compatible with 8x2x1 grinding stones, the tool provides a more precise grind to complement the welding process in defect removal. 

RailWorks Corp. 

RailWorks Corp.’s grinding machines work on switches, guarded curves and grade crossings to improve reliability and increase the lifespan of the rails.
RailWorks Corp.

RailWorks Corp. now provides turnkey switch and crossing rail-grinding services for “busy operating environments,” company officials said. The services are designed to reduce wear on rolling stock, maximize train and fuel efficiency and improve overall ride quality for passenger rail. 

The grinding machines work on switches, guarded curves and grade crossings. Features of the new turnkey switch machine include independent, hydraulically powered grinding units; the Jupiter II Control System; a hydrostatic propulsion system; fully computerized control; a dust collection system; a pneumatic braking system; a water-spray fire control system; and comfortable control cabins.

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