What Are Hi Rail Vehicles?

A hi-rail truck is a purpose built vehicle which can operate on rail tracks and tarmac road both. Hi-rail vehicles, sometimes referred to as road rail vehicles are often augmented road vehicles. They have switched their normal wheels for rubber tyres. They are also fitted with additional steel wheels for running on rails – like those on a train.

Hi-rail trucks, excavators and other vehicles are designed to work on railways and are fitted with features that allow them to perform necessary tasks on and adjacent to railroads. Hi-rail vehicles are designed and manufactured small enough to not face danger from power lines and bridges that hang over train tracks.

How Does a Hi-Rail Vehicle Work?

Hi-rail vehicles can be driven on roads to get to the site and then perform a road rail conversion – they transform into a rail vehicle as they approach the rail line. They are self-sufficient in terms of energy consumption and do not rely on rail circuits for power. Hi-rail vehicles are only ever driven on train tracks by a certified rail operator.

Hi-rail vehicle wheels measure smaller than train wheels. In most cases, hi-rail vehicles also make use of four wheels on each axle, rather than two. This avoids conductivity on the tracks that might set off crossing-gate sensors or line changes. The vehicles also implement a steering lock when on rails to avoid accidental steering of any sort.

Types of Hi-Rail Vehicles

Hi-rail vehicles come in many shapes and sizes. Several varieties of crane, excavator, tractor, tampers and other specialised rail-laying equipment have been augmented with rail wheels to allow operation on rail roads. Construction and maintenance of railroads is very complex and relies on several different vehicles to perform specialised tasks. You can check out K&G Machinery’s range of hi-rail hire vehicles on our ‘hire’ page.

Hi-Rail Safety Concerns

There are several safety mechanisms on Hi-Rail Vehicles that can fail, causing injury and even fatalities. Failed locking equipment, wheel failure, damaged axles, incorrect tyres and overloading issues can cause derailing and unsafe tilting of the vehicles.

Some hi-rail trucks include in-build systems that allow the rail wheels to be stored almost completely inside the chassis – closer to the axles. This keeps the vehicle’s weight centred and improves the on-road safety performance of the vehicle.

K&G Machinery ensures that all equipment is thoroughly checked prior to delivery to ensure these incidents don’t occur. Our vehicles are all compliant with rail industry codes and are some of the most durable vehicles available in the market. Contact us about all hi-rail machinery hire needs anywhere in QLD or NSW. We charge affordable rates and guarantee our vehicles will perform as expected at your next rail site or railroad project.