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S&Z Australia supporting rail infrastructure

These projects have a high level of complexity dealing with train movements, public safety, confined spaces, and tight delivery timeframes. 

“S&Z find the challenge of the rail projects rewarding. We are required to install conduits for signalling and power as well as watermains for water and fire services,” says S&Z General Manager Jim Pound. “We never know what we will encounter there is always something that occurs to keep us on our toes.”

S&Z installed over several kilometres of signal upgrades on the Donnybrook to Shepparton line upgrade as the new and faster trains need the boom gates to be activated much earlier. This often involved getting into areas not accessible by any means other than by rail. S&Z has a variety of HDD equipment which allowed it to deliver its compact 4X HDD unit by rail. 

“Some of the areas where we were required to bore were environmentally sensitive and protected. This meant the only way to get to the bore locations was by the rail network. Our nibble machine was able to be transported by rail to the precise locations required without any impact on the environment at all,” Pound says.

Many rail projects require work to be carried out under occupation these are small windows of time when the trains are prevented from running to allow the work to be delivered safely. Given the importance of S&Z’s rail network these are kept to a minimum and require contractors such as S&Z to ensure it completes the required works within the allotted time frames. Pound says if an unexpected issue is encountered a solution needs to be found as soon as possible to allow the works to be completed within the occupation period.

Another challenge on railway station upgrades is the volume of people who still rely on the trains as their mode of transport. Due to transport such as busses, cars, and taxis, the railway station is often the busiest place in a town or suburb and requires an extra level of organisation to ensure safe passage to all.

“We are constantly aware of the public because no matter how many signs, barricades, or safety measures you put in place, there will always be someone who finds themselves in a restricted area. All our crew members are trained to keep an eye on the public to make sure they aren’t going to put themselves in danger,” Pound says.

Given the amount of funding the Victorian State Government has committed to the improvement of rail network, S&Z expects to play a role in delivering many more rail projects in the future.

For more information visit S&Z Australia. 

This article featured in the June edition of Trenchless Australasia.  

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