Known as ‘rail buggies’, utility vehicles aren't new the railway maintenance industry, but the event of the custom Polaris Ranger Rail presented a chance to innovate the planning , including the introduction of technology and equipment which is generally reserved for bigger, costlier plant equipment.
The custom Polaris Ranger was built by Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd, a longtime provider of specialist services for the rail and construction industries, including repair work, maintenance, engineering and heavy haulage transport. Based in Cwmbran, South Wales, Fitzgerald Plant Services aims to supply a one-stop-shop for all of their customers’ requirements – including specialist solutions just like the Polaris Ranger.
“These UTVs for sale are very versatile and may be utilised during a number of various ways,” said Clayton Greenman, Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd Engineering Manager. “That’s one reason why they’re so suited to performing on the rails because it depends tons on what quite maintenance work the contractors are undertaking. Transporting personnel, towing trailers with tools and equipment, weed spraying, leaf clearance, track inspections – the Rail Ranger is that the ideal vehicle to try to to it all.”
Supported by their Polaris dealer UK, the Polaris Ranger was selected due to its refined cab that gives the choice to be fully enclosed with the addition of doors, a windshield, rear panel and roof, alongside its class-leading capabilities and sturdiness .
Initially building a prototype with a Polaris Ranger Diesel, Fitzgerald Plant Services will have delivered four Polaris Ranger vehicles to work across UK rail lines by the top of this year, with more custom builds planned for 2021.
“From the initial brief to the delivered prototype, the Polaris UTV modification took around three years to develop,” continued Clayton. “Building the Polaris Ranger Diesel modification in compliance with the Network Rail standards is understandably very time consuming because of the testing and documentation required. Development of the prototype petrol Ranger XP 1000 Crew took but 4 months as we gained tons of experience from the previous diesel project. Now we’re serial production, we will complete a full rail conversion in about 3 weeks.”
The custom Polaris Ranger vehicles are fitted with spacers to offer them a wider track width, ensuring the tyres sit correctly on the railhead, also as specially-mounted rail gear, an air braking system and hydraulic systems. because the Polaris chassis has been designed to accommodate a snow plough, an equivalent mounting points might be utilised to suit the front rail equipment, however, the chassis had to be specially adapted for the rear equipment. The mechanism controls the raising and lowering of the rail bogies and therefore the hydraulic trailer camp brake, employing a 12-volt DC electro/hydraulic electrical converter powered from the battery. there's also a 12-volt DC twin compressor which powers the air brakes – a requirement for towing trailers on the united kingdom rail infrastructure.
Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd added its own custom display, controllers and software to regulate the varied rail systems and operate as effectively as possible. The operator can get real-time updates on machine status and operate the functions via a interface . There also are password-protected menus for service engineers where all the system diagnostic information and calibration settings are found.