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Meet China's "The Iron Monster"

by Jonathan Cohen Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 14:44

How do you build high-speed railways quickly where large sections of the route must be suspended over valleys and canyons to avoid bends?

Enter bridge-building machine SLJ900/32 - locally nicknamed "The Iron Monster".

The SLJ, built by CHINA RAILWAY 11 BUREAU GROUP, is an all-in-one machine capable of carrying, lifting and placing sections of track, connecting pillar with pillar by heavy stone blocks, as reported by (7/24).

After laying each section, the 92m (300ft) vehicle - with the help of its 64 wheels - returns to collect another block. It then rolls forward over the part it has just laid to place another section.

Even with a full load, it can move at 5km/h (3mph), ensuring that the whole process is much quicker than traditional methods, which needed enormous cranes to be built on the ground.

At 580 tonnes, it is also much heavier than any of the railway traffic that will pass over the track it lays, meaning its bridges are made far stronger than necessary for rail traffic.

It has already contributed towards several high-speed rail projects, including a new link between Inner Mongolia and the rest of the country, propelling China towards its goal of 30,000km of high-speed rail by 2020.

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