Rail maintenance is a topic that is seldom spoken about. It’s one of those dirty jobs that need to be done in order to keep our railway infrastructure operating. It’s crucial because without safe and reliable railways, locomotives and railcars, South Africa’s transportation system would be dealt a paralysing blow.

There are several rail maintenance tools that professionals need to keep our choo-choo machines running; one of the most important ones are Bogie and Axle Drop Plants. But wait:

What are bogie and axle drop plants?

Here’s what they look like

This handy equipment basically provides a platform for locomotives and railcars to be serviced, repaired or replaced. These drop plants are operated by trained personnel but are simple to understand and operate.

Bogie and axle drop plants come in three different variations:

  1. Deep pit

The first is a deep pit or underfloor tunnel that is configured to work with a machine that has a scissor lifting device or a screw lifting system. These systems are designed to lift entire railcars and locomotives – they’re powerful.

  1. Shallow pit

The shallow pit drop plant works the same as its deeper counterpart. The only difference is the height of the pit, which limits the sizes of the objects that can fit within.

  1. Above ground

The last variation has no pit but is equipped with a screw lifting system. This greatly limits the amount of work one can do using this system and is used for light servicing and repair work.

How they work in a nutshell

Depending on the type of train being worked on, only two supports are needed for the coach. The movable frame for the above ground variation is a steel frame with four lifting points and four Steel wheels that can be removed laterally.

The length of the frame allows the operator to remove the modules that are fixed under the coach of the train using a special interface. The Bertolotti Patent does not require particular civil works. It has been designed to be installed in a depot by only cutting the rail in the position where the plant must be installed using four small holes for the columns.

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