Traffic Jam in Permafrost Area

yellow and black tower crane

For the first time in its experience, Rental Units company faced the task to deliver crane machinery to the permafrost areas of Russia’s High North.

At the beginning of the year, company received an order for operation of truck cranes in Yamal Nenets Autonomous District. A quick glance on the maps showed that there are basically no roads to the destination, and the nearest possible mobilization point is the rail station of Usinsk. Furthermore, the worksite is reachable only in a certain season by a winter road – about 300 km. For those not in the know, the winter road is a motor road which can be used only in winter conditions under negative temperatures. In order to arrange such a way, snow is compacted and scooped by graders.

But the main trouble was not cold weather or missing highways, but OAO RZD. First, 400 wagons jammed up approaching Usinsk. The jams appeared on the railways, because the stations fail to unload and formalize the arriving trains in due time. In order to resolve this issue this way or another, RZD decided to close this direction at all.

This jam could have had the most dire consequences. The winter road (which also must be reached on time) can function only till the middle of April, and this is the best case scenario, as spring in these parts came abnormally early this year.

Second, the train with the cranes was weighed several times, reloaded and requested to lighten the load at the marshalling station in St. Petersburg, despite previously developed and approved loading plans. There was no other way but to remove wheels and also the cabin from mobile crane GMK 6300, as well as drain all service liquids (oil, hydraulic liquid, diesel fuel) and partially disassemble the main boom.

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But every cloud has a silver lining. “Making up our mind to use rail transport for our equipment, we didn’t exactly know what is ahead of us, but our company passed this test quite successfully and now has a broad experience in this kind of transports,” believes Matvei Fomin, Deputy Director RENTAL UNITS.

As for the end of this story, the machinery reached Usinsk smoothly and on time. Ramps on the rail platforms were adjusted to let the cranes drive down on their own. And then they were up to 15-hour haul along the endless winter road.