Never change a winning team: Sandvik Jumbos & ARGE ABS Hanau-Nantenbach
A new 400 million Euro 112 km long railway and four tunnels will help connect business centers in the Rhein-Main area of Germany with completion planned for 2017. ARGE ABS Hanau-Nantenbach was awarded the tunneling contract and was keen to work with experienced partners. The company thus placed its trust in Sandvik Construction and four DT820 and DT821 Jumbos as its motto is – "never change a winning team."
In connecting the business centers of the Rhein-Main area with the Würzburg and Franconia region, the extended Hanau-Nantenbach railway is set to play an important role. However, for the 112 km long Main-Spessart rail line to connect the areas effectively it was necessary to construct four new tunnels so that the railway will be able to successfully deliver reduced travelling times as well as increasing capacity
Between Laufach and Heigenbrücken the existing railway passes under a 926 meter long tunnel structure, the Schwarzkopf tunnel. Despite several renovations, extensive maintenance is needed to maintain the operation of the 160-year-old tunnel. The increasing maintenance required to keep the tunnel in a safe and efficient working condition means that the increasing cost of maintaining the Schwarzkopf tunnel could no longer be justified from a cost-benefit perspective. Furthermore a complete overhaul of the tunnel would only be technically feasible with great effort and cost and therefore not economically viable.
A further problem with the existing line is that a traffic bottleneck exists between Frankfurt and Würzburg on the leg through the Spessart due to a major inclination in the line. This can be so severe in places that when heavy cargo loads are transported a "tug" is required. This means that the maximum top speed reached is limited to 70 kmh between Hain / Spessart and Heigenbrücken which has led to the development of a bottleneck.
Due to these factors the German railway authority decided to construct a bypass of the Schwarzkopf tunnel, with the so-called "two-track bypass clip" being adopted as both a proven effective solution, and the cheapest option. When complete this will be approximately 8 km long with a 500 meter maximum deviation from the existing line. The new tunnel will be located to the east-west direction of the Heigenbrücken and Laufach municipalities. The new route will also be of a flat alignment, which will remove the bottleneck as the trains will be able to reach speeds of upto 150 kmh. In addition noise emissions will be significantly reduced to the great benefit of the populations located in Heigenbrucken, Grove and Laufach.
The new tunnel is a major capital investment project with the total cost being in the region of 400 million EUR, of which 230 million EUR will be invested in the shell of the tunnel. The construction of such a vital transport infrastructure tunneling project required a company possessing the relevant knowledge and experience to deliver the solution on time, on budget and to the quality required. To this end the ARGE ABS Hanau-Nantenbach was given the contract beginning work in July 2013, with completion scheduled for late 2017.
The tunnel work undertaken is not only expensive but also involves many people, and necessitated the deployment of state of the art tunneling equipment. Work on the tunnel has seen 150 technicians, 60 miners and 30 workshop personnel operating 3 shifts a day, 7 days a week. The final adjustments in order to ensure the tunnel is working properly will require the deployment of 350 specialists.
Heading the project for ARGE is Manfred Reiter, who realized that in order to complete tunnel to the time and budget constraints he would have to deploy four underground drill rigs, all supplied by Sandvik Construction. These rigs have played a key role during the drilling and blasting development works being integral in creating the tunnel diameter of 80 sqm. This was achieved even with the difficult geology of the area (diorite and brittle sandstone) but the Sandvik machinery was able to achieve an impressive progress of 6.5 m per shift.
Manfred Reiter was impressed and commented: "Due to the positive experience with Sandvik, together with the technically convincing machinery (previously experienced) we have decided for the same partner. There has been a successful co-operation of the partners in Coburg already so there was nothing more consequent than this step". In effect Manfred believes that you should "Never change a winning team" when describing the excellent co-operation of the partners involved.
The use of the Sandvik Construction DT820 and DT821 jumbos was without a doubt a clever choice. This was based not only on the positive experiences Manfred Reiter and ARGE have gained in the past, but also based on the 50+ year's experience Sandvik has gained in the development of underground drill rigs. The DT Series has undergone continuous further development and represents the combination of optimum performance with state of the art technology.
As tunnel projects are always a struggle between time and money the decision to use Sandvik Construction underground drill rigs was therefore considered the best option. The end result is that through shaft tunneling and the open construction of the tunnel passages will mean that changes to the landscape are minimized, with noise emissions from the railway also reduced due to the location of the track. In effect the entire project has turned out to be a "win-win" situation for all parties involved (wildlife, landscape, local inhabitants, railways users) proving Manfred Reiter's motto of: "Never change a winning team."
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