Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Track Welding

Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Track Welding

Welding track makes the ride much smoother (no clickity-clak) and helps reduce wear on the wheels; reduced wear on the wheels means less track maintenance, it’s one well-connected system. Here are photos of the track placement process.

All photos are available on my flickr set Westbahnstr Tram Track Renewal

Beginning the welding process.

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Lots of sparks.

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Night welding.

Overhead photo from a neighbour.

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Preparing a Rail Joint

The photos below show several steps in the process of filling a joint and then breaking away the excess steel.

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Grinding a Rail Joint

See the film below to view the whole process.

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YouTube video showing the process of filling a joint, grinding the rail and a small bit of welding.

Wiener Linien Welding Crew

Here are the Wiener Linien welders working on another section of track and the Wiener Linien’s welding truck.

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Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Rehabilitation 2009

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Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Construction Videos

In addition to taking photos of the construction process, I also made several videos. This page presents the five videos.

Demolishing the Street

The first step in the reconstruction process is to demolish the street and remove the tracks. This video shows some of the street demolition process.

Preparing the New Track

This video shows some of the work done on preparing the track. It includes on joining the rails, grinding the rail joint and welding the rail.

Building Track Support Structure

This video shows how the workers built the support structure for the rails out of concrete.

Building Street Subsurface

After building the concrete supports, the workers removed the wooden supports and built the subsurface under the rails. This was done by section. This video shows the workers pouring concrete to build the substructure.

Building Street Surface

The final step in the process was to rebuild the street surface. This video shows the two methods used to finish the surface: placing prefabricated units and pouring a new surface.

Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Reconstruction 2009

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Vienna Tram 49 Reconstruction 2009 – Track Work

Vienna Tram 49 Reconstruction 2009 – Track Work

Placing tram track in the street is a key part of the tram track rehabilitation project. The track must be placed at the right elevation and then the track support structure and street are built around it. The track needs to be level and the joints need to be welded to provide a comfortable ride. If the track is not exactly right it will cause maintenance problems for the tram wheels and the rails for the next 25-years! Here are photos of the track placement process.

All photos are available on my flickr set Westbahnstr Tram Track Renewal

Placing the Track

Here the construction crew is ready to start placing the track. On this section they placed pre-fabricated sections of track. You can see one of the pre-fabricated sections in the background by the crane.

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Checking Track Elevation

Making sure that the track is at the right elevation. A variety of jacking devices and measurement tools are used in the process of setting the tracks.

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Bolting Tracks Together

When tracks are at the right elevation, the workers bolt the track to the adjoining section. This photo shows the workers bolting one of the steel bars that keeps the two tracks the correct distance apart to the track, but the same tools are used to bolt one section of track to the next.

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Adjusting the Track

The process of placing the track, making sure it is in exactly the right position, supporting the track and welding the rail is very involved. Here’s an overview photo, several smaller ones below. They keep checking elevation and placement all through the construction process. I guess they succeeded between the 2nd and 3rd photos below right.

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Welding the Track

More photos of the track welding process are on the post Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Track Welding

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Building Track Support

Here’s a video showing how the workers built the permanent track support structure.

Here’s my post with all five Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Construction Videos.

Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Reconstruction 2009

Back to Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Reconstruction 2009 Homepage.

Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Street Demolition

Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Street Demolition

The first step in the reconstruction process is to demolish the existing street and remove the tracks. Here are photos of the street demolition process.

All photos are available on my flickr set Westbahnstr Tram Track Renewal

Starting Street Demolition

The street surface before reconstruction. The photos below show how the prefabricated sections of street surface were removed and what was left over. The video embedded at the bottom of this page shows the process of removing a prefabricated section.

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Breaking up the Concrete

There were also sections of concrete street surface that needed to be broken-up with a jack hammer, so there was lots of work for man and machine.

In the photo to the right the machine is moving out of the way so that a tram can pass through the site. The tram route was shutdown for 16 days, but continued to run through most of the construction period.

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Removing the Track

Once the surface section is gone, the track needed to be removed. Here the machine is loosening the track from the subsurface.

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Removing Subsurface Sections

Once the track was gone, the subsurface sections could be removed. The process is shown in the video and in these photos.

First the workers used a concrete saw to cut up sections of the subsurface, next they drilled bolts into the sections, and finally they lifted the sections out of the ground. They are just about to lift the section out in the photo on the right.

You can see the bolts for the other sections on the left side of the photo.

The photo below on the far right shows the sections loaded on a trailer on the way to recycling.

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After Removing Street Subsurface

Here’s what the street looks like after they remove the substructure.

The jackhammer machine was used to break-up remaining concete.

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Grinding Machine

Next a grinding machine was used to clean up the bottom of the street. The new substructure will be built on top of this foundation.

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Repairing the Surface

Once the surface had been ground, minor repairs were made to make sure it could provide a good foundation for construction of the new substructure and tracks.

You can see the fresh concrete on parts of the surface in this photo.

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Street Demolition Video

Here’s a video showing some of the street demolition process.

Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Rehabilitation 2009

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Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Signs

Vienna Tram 49 Rehabilitation 2009 – Signs

Signs are an important part of any construction project. Here are some of the signs used on the Westbahnstrasse tram track reconstruction project.

All photos are available on my flickr set Westbahnstr Tram Track Renewal

Here two signs placed on the street before the construction site. Trams are allowed, but other vehicles are forbidden from going further (although that doesn’t stop some people).

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This sign says that all traffic must turn around – including bicyclists. The little yellow triangle with 15 written in it means that trams must go at slow speed.

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General Information Signs

Project information signs: on the sidewalk, at the tram stop and at the front door of buildings on Westbahnstrasse.

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Warning and Detour Signs

Warning sign, street closed ahead (Neubaugasse/Westbahnstrasse).

Note the detour information for bicyclists too!

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Information Signs

This sign says that after 29 July it is not possible to use this driveway. It’s a nice personal touch that it was written by hand on the standard “no entry” sign. It’s signed: “Wr. Linien” for Wiener Linien, the public transport operator.

The sign at the far right (“E”) tells the tram drivers that they can go back to regular speed, it’s the “end” of the construction zone.

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Vienna Tram 49 Reconstruction – Track Fabrication

Vienna Tram 49 Reconstruction – Track Fabrication

Wiener Linien Track Construction Shop

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One reason building or rebuilding tram track in cities is difficult is that the track is rarely exactly straight. Also, in cities like Vienna where there are many tram lines there are many places where one set of tracks crosses another and many places where switches are needed.

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As these photos show, Westbahnstrasse has examples of all these problems. From left to right: it starts with the Neubaugasse “S” curve as the tracks change from Siebensternstrasse to Westbahnstrasse, then on Westbahnstrasse the tracks shift a little as they head west and at Kaiserstrasse there is a complex intersection with two tram tracks on each street. Check out my video Riding Tram 49 at Night for an impression of riding the line from the Ring to Zieglerstrasse.

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Most of the complicated trackwork, like the three examples above, must be made in a workshop with machines that enable rail to be cut into complex shapes, bent into very precise curves and fitted together. Then the finished sections of track are brought to the worksite and welded to the adjoining rails. The big advantage of this approach is that it takes much less time and leads fo much higher quality track. Mainline railroads use the same method: prefabricating complicated track sections, removing the old sections and replacing them with the new ones.

The Wiener Linien has its own workshop for prefabricating track sections. I visited it last year at the Wiener Linien’s annual Tram Day celebration. The photos on this site are all from that visit. All photos are available on my flickr set Westbahnstr Tram Track Renewal and you can click on the photos to see larger versions.

Switch Fabrication

Here is a switch being fabricated in the shop.

Notice the devices pinning the rails in place while the complete structure is being built.

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Milling machine.

This machine is milling a block of steel that will be part of a switch (probably a “frog” the point in a switch where the two rails come together).

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Track Fabrication Workshop Photos

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Since the rails are created for a specific location they are all marked.

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Construction on Westbahnstrasse

Another shot showing the track curvature looking down Westbahnstrasse towards Neubaugasse.

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Vienna Line 49 Track Rehabilitation

Photo Documentation of Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Rehabilitation (2009)

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