We have successfully used Vesconite on many applications on the miniature railway in Stellenbosch, so using it on a full-size rail vehicle was a no-brainer!
The team behind the Winelands Light Railway, in Stellenbosch, was asked to revive the old Ratanga Amusement Park 24″ gauge railway that had, since the closure and redevelopment of the area, fallen out of use. The old train set was assessed and found to be in too poor a state to rebuild and so the concept of Century City Tramway, in Cape Town, a brand new battery-operated tramway, was born.
The challenge was to build a vintage-looking tramcar from scratch with zero emissions and minimal maintenance as there are no service facilities on site. Since the tramcar was to run on a fully paved and concreted in-track bed, dripping oil had to be avoided at all costs.
Greased self-aligning bearings were only used on the main axles; all other sliding and rubbing surfaces were made of Vesconite. With virtually no direct metal-to-metal contact from the chassis to the rail, the vibration carried from the concrete-encased track was also minimal.
The drive system is all electric running on lithium iron batteries; at full capacity, 50 km is easily attained on a single charge. With the bogies moving very freely on Vesconite rollers, drag is reduced in the corners and less energy is needed to propel the tramcar along.