Since the 1990s, all railways in Europe have rolled on gapless tracks, The rails joints are connected to each other by means of welding works. This leads to better travelling comfort for the guests; noise reduction in the cities; and reduced wear and tear on axis and rolls of the wagons. This work which has to be carried out on the rail is done by the permanent ways welder.
Submerged welding, e-welding by hand and the MF-process are the basics for permanent ways welding works. With specially tailored equipment it will be welded and grinded in several working processes, until the rail has built an even surface.
In order for a tram (LRT systems) on a rail to always roll safe, silent, comfortable and with low wear and tear, a regular maintenance schedule is essential. This will help avoid expensive, time consuming complete replacement of rails which also means a great logistical and organisational effort.
Timely re-profiling, deburring and welding repair can correct most of the problems. This will help avoid massive wear and tear generated by permanent stress on the rails which can lead to cracks on the surface, head checks, squats and wheel burns on rails, tracks and rail crossing systems.
A further reason for regular maintenance is wheelchair accessibility which also leads to higher stress on the rail.
Due to the increasing demand of permanent ways welding works and maintenance, the „allrounder“ will be replaced more and more by specialists with long-term experience. Although the operation areas may seem limited at first, welders specialized in permanent ways, are more flexible. The main reason for this is the simple structure of mid-sized companies which enables them to react much faster and decisions can be made easier.
Above all, in the city, the job of a welder is not easy. A well trained permanent way welder does not only need experience and competence, but also a peaceful attitude. No matter if the welder has to work in a spooky atmosphere in darker areas of the city or on a cross-way with heavy traffic, they have to act responsibly in each situation and „stay cool“ in order to be able to carry out their work professionally and safely.
Well working teams trust each other unconditionally and are experienced and calm such that each responsible work step can be executed with caution. They can ward off provocations of traffic participants or even parry probable criminals with their collective awareness.
After a long night, when the chaos on the streets continues in the morning and the first trams interrupt the continued work, the routine and experience of the team is essential if the tramway traffic were to continue fluidly and uninterupted.