Trackless Train Innovation at Chelsea Sugar Works

Trackless Train Innovation at Chelsea Sugar Works

A Transport Specifications Limited Triumph

When Chelsea Sugar Works on Auckland's North Shore envisioned a novel touring experience for its visitors, it was Transport Specifications Limited (TSL) they turned to. Here's our tale of engineering, compliance, and innovation to bring the trackless train project to life.

1. The Challenge:

Chelsea Sugar Works approached us with a clear vision: a trackless passenger train that could carry around 20 passengers seamlessly through their complex. Given the intricacies of the terrain and areas accessible to the general public, we had our work cut out for us.

2. Regulatory Deep Dive:

Our first mission was to ensure the trackless train's legal operation throughout the complex. We examined New Zealand's Rules, Regulations, and Standards closely, deciphering if an imported vehicle could fit the bill or if it would require specific modifications.

3. Global Exploration:

TSL cast its net wide. Our research team liaised with various overseas manufacturers, gathering detailed specs about potential models. We then juxtaposed these options against New Zealand's stringent regulatory framework, especially the Transport Rule 31001, PSV section 7.2.

4. A Bird's Eye View:

To grasp the lay of the land, our team piloted a drone (with CAA's nod) to capture the proposed route in detail. This was not only to understand the terrain but also to ascertain key dynamics like turning circles, which would be crucial for the train’s smooth operation.

5. Local Expertise and Collaboration:

While the global market provided valuable insights, there's nothing like homegrown craftsmanship. Partnering with a local light trailer manufacturer and another local entity, we embarked on designing a "train engine" rooted in a robust John Deere Tractor.

Key engineering feats included:

  • Crafting a TB class trailer designed for a GVM of 3.5 tonnes.
  • Implementing advanced safety features like “Roll-over protection”, side doors, and more.
  • Equipping the John Deere 4049R 4-wheel drive tractor with a “Rops” safety frame and a trailer connection system, ensuring it was apt for a trailer GVM of 3.5 tonnes.
  • Introducing a height-adjustable “Engine Roof” for seamless aesthetic alignment with the trailer.

6. Testing and Validation:

Every innovation requires validation. Once crafted, the trackless train was rigorously tested at a local station. Earning its stripes, it gained the mandatory registration and Certificate of Fitness.

7. The Fruit of Our Endeavours:

The final product was a trackless train experience tailor-made for Chelsea Sugar Works. The vehicle, designed in alignment with the New Zealand Passenger Service Rules 1999, could comfortably accommodate 20 adults or 25 children. Thanks to our comprehensive work and the New Zealand Transport Agency's exemption, the trackless train is now a safe and compliant reality.

In closing, at TSL, we believe in pushing boundaries and pioneering solutions. The Chelsea Sugar Works' trackless train project stands as a testament to our commitment, expertise, and innovation. We're excited for what the future holds!

Posted: Tuesday 29 August 2023