Railcare, the company known for its Railvac vacuum ballast excavator that removes ballast from under points and switches and other hard-to-reach areas, has unveiled its latest model, which is battery powered.
The new vehicle is equipped with its own power source, vacuum pumps, hydraulics, and operator cabs, enabling it to be used as a battery-powered complement to Railcare’s railway vacuum excavator and snow melter, as well as acting as a towing vehicle for ballast wagons during track works.
Railcare has partnered with the mining equipment company Epiroc to develop the world’s largest battery-powered rail vehicle. Many of Railcare’s projects involve underground work – in metro systems or mines – with the consequent need to keep emissions low. However, the company believes there is considerable potential for emission-free machines in other markets too.
In addition to having zero emissions, the battery powered machine is less noisy than its diesel-powered equivalent, so will be well suited for night-time working on railways in urban environments.
Daniel Öholm, CEO of Railcare Group, said at the launch of the new machine: “I am proud that we are the first to produce a maintenance machine for the railway that is emission-free and with the same high performance as our other machines. It is a unique product where we at Railcare can contribute to a more sustainable future.
“Our customers around the world have a huge demand for this type of solution, especially in city centres, tunnels, and mines, where exhaust fumes and noise levels are a big environmental problem. This machine will be a game-changer for the entire railway industry.”
The unveiling was carried out at Railcare’s head office in Skelleftehamn, Sweden, by Minister of Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth, Minister of Employment Eva Nordmark, and Västerbotten’s County Governor Helene Hellmark Knutsson.
Tomas Eneroth, Minister of Infrastructure, spoke at the launch. “Since Sweden will be the world’s first fossil-free country, Railcare’s initiative is extremely important,” he said. “We are clear that we will phase out fossil transport throughout the country. Everyone who faces major investment decisions will need to look at carbon footprints and choose fossil-free transport.”
Railcare’s partners in the project were also represented – Emad Zand, president of battery systems at Northvolt, and Erik Svedlund, head of marketing at Epiroc both attended and spoke of the move to battery power on a larger scale within the industry.
Eva Nordmark, Minister of Employment, tried the machine for herself and was enthusiastic about its potential. “This enables the working environment on the railway to be significantly improved and that densely populated areas are not negatively affected by emissions and high noise levels,” she said.
Railcare’s MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) is purported to be the first of its kind, with no other battery-powered maintenance machines for the railway of this size.