Lännen multipurpose machines have become increasingly popular in rail use, which is why it is no wonder that the current new rise of the tramways has also led to Lännen machines being used in the construction and maintenance of tram networks. The newest machine procured for tramway use is the Lännen 8800M machine of NRC Group, which is carrying out an electrification contract in the Jokeri Light Rail project in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
The Lännen multipurpose machine was chosen for track use and equipped with a high-view -cabin that offers a good view upwards, an aerial work platform, and, of course, rail wheels that break both the Finnish and global record: Lännen machines have never before had rail wheels this narrow.
In practice, Lännen Rail multipurpose machines have previously been delivered for two track gauges: a gauge of 1,524 millimeters, which is used in the rail network in Finland, as well as a gauge of 1,435 millimeters, which is used in European countries such as Sweden and the Tampere tram network, for example. But as they say, never two without three.
As Lännen Tractors always wants to make the customer’s needs the top priority, implementing a narrow track gauge was also not a problem when NRC Group was looking for a multipurpose machine for the electrification contract in the Jokeri Light Rail project in Helsinki and Espoo.
The track gauge of precisely 1,000 millimeters used in this new network is a historic decision made back in the late 19th century when the first horse-drawn tramway was opened in Helsinki. The gauge has not been changed since then, which is why relatively narrow tracks are used today.
As a project, Jokeri Light Rail represents the most recent development in public transport in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, and it will replace the very popular trunk line 550 from Keilaniemi in Espoo to Itäkeskus in Helsinki, which was previously operated by bus.
The two-track tramway has 25 line kilometers plus depot tracks. This means that roughly four times the amount of conductors will be installed in NRC Group’s electrification contract.
As the machine’s main task is overhead line installation, it was also equipped for this purpose at the factory: Petterson’s hydraulic wire reel and Lännen’s telescopic contact wire guide, i.e. “stick”, are the most commonly used accessories.
cooperation was the key
And now we are in the middle of the fields of Viikki. The electrification work in the project, which is divided into five different production blocks, is kicking off here on the clear routes of the long straight section.
The Lännen 8800M came to work at the start of summer, and NRC Group’s site foreman Mikko Lompolojärvi says that things have gotten off to a natural start – after all, this is not the first time they are dealing with Lännen multipurpose machines.
- NRC Group’s predecessor, VR Track, was already using Lännen machines for maintenance on the tracks, and the Tampere tramway project also provided us with plenty of good experiences of using the machine in electrical construction, Mikko says.
- It became clear very quickly that this type of machine was also needed for this project, he continues.
So we set out to implement a machine with Lännen Tractors based on previous cooperation projects.
"Right before the machine was completed, we visited the factory to confirm that the machine would be exactly as agreed. User training was also carried out in two phases: first when the machine was put into service and then roughly a week later."
- In this type of procurement, it was very important for the manufacturer to be well aware of what is needed in the work, Lompolojärvi underlines.
- With Lännen’s Jan Aspvik, the procurement was completed in a very expert manner, and the end result was an exactly appropriate machine for this purpose, he remarks.
Another element that Mikko Lompolojärvi considers to be important is the contact maintained during manufacturing and commissioning.
- Right before the machine was completed, we visited the factory to confirm that the machine would be exactly as agreed. User training was also carried out in two phases: first, when the machine was put into service and then roughly a week later, Mikko says.
- In that week, we had enough time to get used to the new machine and list the necessary questions and various adjustments that we then reviewed together during the second training session. According to Mikko, operators have been easy to find for the machine.
- They have previous experience with Lännen machines and have quickly learned to use this new machine.
- NRC Group’s predecessor, VR Track, was already using Lännen machines for maintenance on the tracks, and the Tampere tramway project also provided us with plenty of good experiences of using the machine in electrical construction, says Mikko Lompolojärvi.
Made appropriate at the factory
In terms of its basic technology, the machine is in line with Lännen 8800M, the largest model of the M series that has already consolidated its status.
Selected for use on the tracks, it was equipped with a high-view -a cabin that offers a good view upwards, an aerial work platform, and, of course, rail wheels that break both the Finnish and global record: Lännen machines have never before had rail wheels this narrow – but they will definitely have them again in the future, as even narrower rails are in use today elsewhere in Europe.
As the machine’s main task is overhead line installation, it was also equipped for this purpose at the factory: Petterson’s hydraulic wire reel and Lännen’s telescopic contact wire guide, i.e. “stick”, are the most commonly used accessories, along with an aerial work platform.
Mikko Lompolojärvi says that the machine also comes with a front bucket and backhoe, forklift tines, and a scrap cable reel for easy collection of cables for recycling. The worksite also utilizes a separate low dolly, with which material can be transported easily behind the machine along the rails.
A long career on the tracks ahead
The machine can also travel on the road but relatively little in comparison.
- The machine’s speed is good on the streets and in densely populated areas. If we take it to Ring I, we usually go around noon or late in the evening when traffic is less busy, Mikko Lompolojärvi says.
- The worksites are in place for a longer period of time, so when we get on the tracks, we usually also stay on them.
Work carried out in a city also always involves environmental and safety perspectives. According to Mikko, these elements have also been taken well into account.
- New machines are always new, and this one has an excellent emissions level that meets the latest requirements, among other things.
The machine is naturally also equipped with a very comprehensive set of warning and safety lights for use on both roads and tracks.
What will happen in the future, once this project is completed in summer 2024 – will the machine stay here for maintenance use, for example?
- No, the procurement was planned so that the machine will be altered to a track gauge suitable for railways, and it will be used in contracts related to railways in the future, Mikko says regarding the versatile future of the Lännen multipurpose machine.
And this does indeed sound good, considering that the new machine still has a long career ahead of it.