Rubber-tyred shunters

Industrial (including Mining) motive power and operations in Southern Africa
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John Ashworth
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Rubber-tyred shunters

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The following appears as a news item in Railways Africa, although it reads rather more like an advert from the manufacturers...

Posted on 18 June 2009 by Railways Africa Editor

By using rubber tyres on the rail instead of conventional steel-on-steel, a much greater adhesion factor is achieved. This means that a smaller, lighter, less costly machine can be supplied, capable of the same work as a larger conventional loco but with half the engine size, half the drive-train size and generally half the maintenance and running costs.

Many advantages derive from the on /off- rail facility. Crews are able to move off the rail at level crossings and other level surfaces without being caught in the rail network behind loaded wagons, or having to travel some distance to a far-off set of points. The machine can be easily driven off the rail onto a standard road or roll-back, making possible quick transfers to other sites.

Maintenance and cleaning is easy – the machine is simply driven into the workshop for steam cleaning or servicing

Zephir locos have the capacity to haul loads of between 600 and 6,000 tons in any shunting application. Robust and hardy, they are purpose-built, specially designed machines with a wide range of industrial applications. The handy drive-train and earthmover-type transmission allows for easy, on-the-spot mechanical attention by technical crews anywhere in the world, without needing attention from the specialist technicians normally associated with conventional locomotives.

The versatility of a rubber-tyred loco cuts down the time taken for rail movements, as it can be taken onto road or rail at any point - even in restricted areas with tight clearance - in one easy, fast manoeuvre. The Zephir is able to cross rails in performing cross-terminal movements, quickly and efficiently.

With their traction-by-rubber-wheel technology, Zephir loco-tractors are able to replace conventional locomotives up to 100 tons in weight. They offer low maintenance, low capital cost and low operating expense. Fuel consumption is between ½ to ⅓ that of a traditional locomotive. The purchase price is around 58% less, as well as 58% lower on running and maintenance costs. Rail track maintenance cost is also substantially reduced: rubber traction wheels don’t wear down the rails to nearly the same extent as do conventional steel-tyred wheels.

Siyazi Technology (Pty) Ltd is the South African sales and marketing agent for the Zephir. Website:
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Dylan Knott
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Joined: 17 Aug 2007, 19:44
Location: Cape Town

Re: Rubber-tyred shunters

Post by Dylan Knott »

De Aar Ammo Depot recently acquired a unit. Looks like a Unimog with rail wheels.
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