With a rail network that is around 3000 km long, Croatia has a well-developed railway infrastructure which, among other places, also extends over the Dinaric Alps – one of the highest mountain ranges in Europe. To allow snow to be cleared from the rails more efficiently in the winter months, in 2016 the Croatian state railway operator HŽ PUTNIČKI PRIJEVOZ decided to add some powerful equipment to bolster its winter maintenance fleet. In collaboration with the Austrian track laying machine manufacturer Plasser & Theurer, Beilhack was commissioned to deliver two HB280 high-performance snow blowers, as well as two PB3 snow ploughs and BSP220 track clearing ploughs. In a short space of time, a team of engineers and fitters at Beilhack in St. Blasien managed to construct the attachments. They are each driven by an OBW100, a powerful track motor vehicle from Plasser & Theurer.
The Beilhack HB280 snow blower is renowned for getting tracks open quickly and efficiently thanks to its enormous snow clearing capacity at a high clearing speed. The hydrostatically driven snow blower front attachment has two scoop wheels which work in opposite directions. By extending the two halves of the attachment, the clearing width can be increased from 3,000 mm to up to 6,000 mm. Each scoop wheel housing is equipped with a tangential stack, which allows the snow to be ejected to a width of up to 40 m. The clearing capacity is 3500 tonnes per hour. Even under the most adverse conditions, the Beilhack HB280 enables the track to be cleared in one go, thus ensuring that trains can operate without delay at all times. In addition, a Beilhack BP3 snow plough at the other end of the carrier vehicle ensures clear tracks when there are smaller amounts of snow. The variable wedge-shaped plough PB has two blades. Each blade can be adjusted independently by means of a generously sized hydraulic cylinder. On this basis, the snow plough can be used both as a wedge-shaped plough with snow ejected on both sides and as a single snow plough with snow ejected to just one side. The shape of the blade is optimised to ensure the best flow of snow as well as ejection of the snow high and wide. This produces an outstanding view of the track ahead. The snow plough is extremely stable and solidly constructed to withstand the forces that occur when clearing railway tracks – even at high clearing speeds. The order also includes two Beilhack BSP220 track clearing ploughs for efficient snow clearance between the rails.