A new-generation of railcars with a top speed of 200 km/h required a tough curved windscreen, which very importantly, had to keep intact and secure in the event of a bird strike.
The challenge for Nybro was to provide upper heads and lower sills for the main windscreen which required each component to be curved in two planes at two different radii with an inner and outer separate section while amazingly, maintaining a radial tolerance of less than 0.5 mm
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Other companies in Australia were approached to do the job, however they were not prepared to undertake this technical challenge and many believed the desired outcome could not be achieved. Through word of mouth, Nybro's ability for innovative solutions caught the attention of the project engineers. With a short discussion and much relief for them, Nybro decided to step up to the plate and undertake the job.
The heads and sills were extruded from a high tensile aluminium . Each component was a type of "L" shape that had a unique thick and thin edge that could encapsulate the curved windscreen. The inner and an outer sections keyed together and set screws at 100mm centres provided the clamping force to secure the glass.
We designed the curving process, designed the machine to do it, built the machine, processed the material to form the upper heads and lower sills and then confirmed compliance to the specified tolerance with a specially built jig that matched the compound curve of the their final installation position.
The new Prospector Trains cost $56 million. These railcars are built for a top speed of 200 km/h, but track conditions currently only allow a maximum speed of 160 km/h.
The new railcars were built by United Goninan at their factory in Broadmeadow, New South Wales, and consist of three driving cars WDA001 through WDA003, three driving cars without buffet WDB011 through WDB013, and a motored non-driving car, WDC021. These form two units of two cars, and a third which is three cars long; an additional two-car unit of the same design operates the AvonLink service.
The new Prospector railcars features air conditioned saloons, reclining seats, an entertainment system and standard mains power outlets for passengers to connect laptops and other equipment during the journey. For train crew they have a computerised operational status system, showing the identity of each carriage connected; as well as engine, brake and door control; and electricity supply. This computer system can reset passenger initiated or smoke detector alarms, and is viewable on the display in any driving compartment.
This state-of-the-art high speed Prospector, operated by TransWA, can complete the 653km trip from Perth to Kalgoorlie in under 7 hours. In 2010 the Prospector reached the milestone of having travelled one million kilometres.