A total of 20,000 sleepers will be replaced. The new sleepers will all be made of concrete. Infrabel’s Thomas Baeken told VRT News the P93 track replacement train is 400 metres long and is the longest train in Infrabel’s fleet.
The train carries out its work while moving and is fully automatic. “It pulls the sections of track apart while it is moving and picks up the old sleepers. At the same time, it puts the new concrete sleepers into place. When it moves on the sections of track close back together again, we then secure them onto the new sleepers manually”, Mr Baeken explained.
He added that at the same time the ballast between the sleepers is replaced. This is the gravel between the sleepers, and it ensures stability”.
Each sleeper weighs 230kg and replacing them is a labour-intensive process. Using the P93 train ensures that this can be done more quickly. The sleeper can be replaced at a rate of 1km/day.
The P93 started out from Ronse station today (Thursday 5 August). All being well it will have finished its work on the 12-kilometre section of track through the Flemish Ardennes towards the end of the month.