Making tracks in Vegas

By Laura Hatton25 June 2013

The transport system had a total weight of approximately 300 tonnes, was 30 m long, and more than 6

The transport system had a total weight of approximately 300 tonnes, was 30 m long, and more than 6 m tall. Photograph by PHH

Precision Heavy Haul in the USA used a heavy duty modular transport system from Goldhofer to transport a railway locomotive along the Las Vegas Boulevard. IC reports...

Transport specialist Precision Heavy Haul in the USA used a modular trailer system to move a 190 ton (172 tonne) diesel-electric rail locomotive to the Las Vegas Convention Center. It was an exhibition highlight at the Caterpillar stand during the MINExpo 2012 conference.

The 30 metre long locomotive was 5 metres tall and 3 m wide. It was from American manufacturer EMD, which has belonged to Caterpillar since 2010.

The 14 axle THP/SL modular system from Goldhofer in Germany that was used for the transport has an axle load of up to 45 tonnes and an axle compensation of ± 300 mm.

To get to its exhibition position, the special cargo was transported from the marshalling yard of the train station to the convention centre by heavy transport specialist Precision Heavy Haul (PHH), headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.

To transport the train PHH had to securely anchor it to the THP modules without substantially increasing the transport weight or damaging the track wheels. A result of this meant that the 4,300 hp train was lifted onto the Goldhofer THP/SL using special hoisting equipment. After the loading process, the cargo was moved at walking pace along the Las Vegas Boulevard, passing the Four Seasons Hotel and Mandalay Bay. On arrival at the Convention Center the locomotive was unloaded directly onto its exhibition location. The transport time lasted more than six hours.

Commenting on the project, Mike Poppe, founder and owner of PHH, said, “With the THP/SL lines from Goldhofer we had the ideal axle lines for this project. With their high bending moment and low deadweight, the THP/SL axles were the perfect base for the transport of the locomotive.”

Further challenges were avoiding during transportation thanks to careful route planning. As a result, no bridges were crossed and a minimum number of traffic lights needed to be negotiated. To avoid collisions with power lines and other utilities, a series of special service providers were involved in the project.

The transport convoy consisted of two tractors, the Goldhofer axle lines, five vehicles with hydraulic ramps, and six telescopic loaders equipped with cranes and working platforms. Two civilian escort vehicles and eleven Highway Patrol officers, who took care of safety for the transport and other road users, also assisted the convoy.

After the exhibition, the train was transported back to the station. Commenting on the return journey, Poppe said, “We carried out the return transport with our team that had plenty of experience working with each other and, of course, once again with the same technical equipment and the Goldhofer axles. Everything went smoothly.”

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