Hi-Rail Excavator Is Purpose-Built for Railroad Maintenance

NMC Railway Systems, a division of Nebraska Cat® dealer NMC Cat and an original equipment manufacturer, uses partial Cat machines and systems to manufacture machines for railroad maintenance-of-way projects and construction. One of those machines is their Hi-Rail Excavator, a product used by the Nebraska Division of the BSNF Railway.

The Hi-Rail Excavator, a machine built using the chassis of a Cat 312E Hydraulic Excavator, is able to work on virtually any terrain, and features an undercarriage that is heavily modified to work on rails. The specially engineered machine provides industry-leading versatility, with its ability to work on and off track with multiple work tool attachments.

The machine’s ability to work off track enables easy access to hard-to-reach areas, said Pat Dineen, a 38-year railroad veteran who operates a variety of equipment for the Nebraska Division of the BSNF Railway.

By using different work tool attachments, the machine can complete a wide range of maintenance-of-way tasks. “For brushcutting, it has turned out to be quite helpful. I can dismount from the tracks easily and cut in areas that I was never able to reach before,” Dineen said.

On rails, the machine can run at speeds up to 30 mph. “Mobility is really important in this job. At 30 miles per hour, we can quickly travel from one area to another,” explained Dineen. The high speed means that the machine can be transported by rail, rather than trucking it to the next jobsite. “When we move the machine from one area to the next, we can travel on the rails. We don’t have to hire a lowboy trailer. That gets expensive and time-consuming,” said Dineen.

Built-In Quality

The use of a Cat partial machine and systems is another factor that separates the high-rail machine from other railroad maintenance and repair equipment on the market.

The boom, stick and body of a Cat 312E Hydraulic Excavator are all used in the construction of the machine. Cat C4.4 diesel engines with ACERT™ technology and Cat hydraulics are also utilized. The machine is mounted on an undercarriage that is heavily modified to work on rails.

The result is a machine that is versatile, reliable and just may have the highest productivity in the industry. “With Cat hydraulics, it’s able to run a wide variety of work tool attachments that are needed in the railroad industry,” said Mark Anderson, sales representative for NMC Railways Systems. “It’s a workhorse.”

The machine is used primarily by Class 1 railroads, although some contractors and transit authorities also utilize the product. “Anybody that has rail work has the need for the machine,” said Anderson.

NMC Railway Systems has been producing specialized railroad equipment for more than 20 years, and has been producing high-rail systems for approximately five years. The company also provides purchase, rent and lease financing options, field and shop services, and is part of the Cat dealer network.
“NMC tech and parts departments are really helpful,” said Dineen. “They take care of any problems that we have.”

Add it all together, and the NMC Railway Systems Hi-Rail Excavator provides versatile, high productivity for railroads across the country, keeping the transport of passengers and goods safe and on schedule.

Cat Parts and Support Enhance Machine Performance

Because the high-rail machine uses Cat content, it can be serviced by any Cat dealer in the United States. “That is an added core value of the machine – you’re dealing with Cat parts and Cat Dealer Support Service,” said Anderson.

The relationship with the Caterpillar OEM Solutions Group also ensures a high quality machine. “OEM Solutions provides us with the ability to work within their guidelines – and Caterpillar factory guidelines – to produce a machine that meets, and exceeds, customers’ expectations,” Anderson said.

The relationship between Caterpillar and NMC helps create and support specialized railroad equipment that meets ever-evolving industry needs.

“Without OEM Solutions, it would be very difficult to engineer, produce and support the machines,” Anderson said. “As railroads continue to grow, there is a huge need for equipment that uses hydraulic work tool attachments. Caterpillar is the industry leader in tool control and the hydraulics that run the attachments.”  

Traveling on a right-of-way alongside rail lines, an NMC Railway Systems Hi-Rail Excavator, outfitted with a tie tamper work tool attachment, moved quickly toward a section of tracks that needed repair. When it was time to travel on the tracks, the hydraulically powered high-rail function enabled the machine to seamlessly make the transition.

OEM Solutions

Jobsites around the world use Cat® machines to increase performance, productivity and reliability. At these same jobsites, you'll also find complementary machines that are built using partial Cat configurations, or Cat systems and first-fit components.

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312E Excavator

If you're looking for more productivity and comfort, less fuel consumption and emissions, and easier and more sensible serviceability, you will find it in the all-new 312E and the E Series family of excavators.

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