Unique Rail – Partnering with Downer for Success 

Unique Rail has a proven track record of delivering solutions for all major rail prime contractors operating in Australia. We pride ourselves on our ability to create tailor-made engineering solutions that address a wide range of rail infrastructure challenges.

One of Unique Rail’s customers is Downer, an ASX-listed transport infrastructure giant with operations around the world. Unique Rail has been supplying world-class Schunk pantographs under license to Downer and the relationship has grown to incorporate a range of solutions including a specialised bogie rotator, axle grounding contacts, lifting jacks and condition monitoring.

The completion of the tailor-made bogie-rotator for Downer was an engineering highpoint for Unique Rail. As far as Unique Rail can ascertain, it is the only rotator in the world that has the latest technologies and the capability to service 15 different types of bogies. Installed in the iconic Downer Newport Rail facility, the bogie rotator gives Downer the flexibility to tender for a broad range of maintenance projects in Australia and New Zealand.

As a key supplier and in recognition of the partnership that has developed between the two companies, Unique Rail’s Managing Director Fabian Borgonha was invited to speak at a recent Industry Capability Network (ICN)-run ‘Doing Business with Downer’ event at Hoppers Crossing.

Over 300 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) attended the event to learn more about working with Downer on upcoming tender opportunities.

Fabian told the audience that the key to working successfully with the large contractors, or Primes, like Downer, is the ability to work with a degree of flexibility and to remain service oriented at all times. “Prime contractors are seeking partners that can deliver solutions to multiple challenges. Simply being local is not enough. A capability edge, combined with the added value attributes of flexibility and scalability, is what Prime contractors are looking for,” he said.

“At Unique Rail our policy is to remain customer focused, to use our skilled people, our experience and modern technology to continually provide the highest quality innovative solutions in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner and to provide ongoing support to our customers.”

Fabian reinforced the importance to SMEs of Primes investing in the supply chain to support capability development and growth.

“Through investment and technology transfer, large Prime contractors bring critical opportunities for further development of capability and capacity,” he said.

Fabian was also appreciative of Downer’s efforts to engage with the industry through the ICN events, confirming it was not easy for SMEs to secure access to major Primes.

“To get a foot in the door with a Prime contractor typically takes a lot of work and relationship building, and requires a commitment to collaborate,” he said.

“It’s about working together to see how you can enhance the product or service to achieve a superior result for their proposition.”

Unique Rail has a proud heritage of building close relationships with its customers. At the heart of that approach is willingness to share knowledge and know-how for mutual benefit, which Fabian strongly believes translates into further opportunities and growth.


“Unique” Depot Maintenance Solution 

Victoria rail and tram industry specialist, Unique Engineering, is living up to its name, deploying a unique engineering solution to Australian railway depot maintenance. 

Dandenong-based Unique Engineering has successfully specified and concluded the first Australian order for a pair of 10 tonne bogie rotators from Sheffield, UK rail engineering firm, Mechan.  It is to be installed at Downer EDi Rail in Newport, Victoria. 

The rotators, which are the heaviest Mechan has ever produced, will be used by Downer EDi to maintain up to ten different types of locomotive. This broad remit required design modifications to increase lifting capacity and add extra bolt holes to the structures. 

Fabian Borgonha of Unique Rail stated that “Bogie rotators are a common sight in rail depots across the world and it is vital their construction can withstand the rigours of busy maintenance facilities. Mechan’s proven technology, and Unique Engineering’s commitment to work with clients impressed everyone involved in this transaction and I have no doubt word will soon spread about the quality of this service equipment.” 

The rotators comprise two independent structures that work together to hold a bogie frame in place whilst it is rotated through 360 degrees. Typically, they are manufactured to support between six and eight tonnes, however, as freight trains in Australia are larger than the UK equivalent, the capacity was increased for Downer Edi to allow loads of up to 10 tonnes. 

Mechan Managing Director, Richard Carr, said: “We are extremely lucky to have found Unique Engineering with such excellent industry contacts and technical ability. Having supplied a similar order to Asia last year, we were confident the equipment would meet Downer EDi’s needs and make it across the world safely. It was installed successfully by Unique Engineering and is now being used by a very satisfied client.”  

Unique is Mechan’s official representative in Australia and New Zealand. For further information about its wide range of products, telephone +61 3 9702 8833 or visit www.uniqueengineering.com.au 


Rotrac E2 An award winning Road/Rail Shunter

The Zwiehoff ROTRAC E2, an electrically powered roal/rail shunter won a German environmental ÖkoGlobe award in the concept vehicle category*.

The ROTRAC E2, is distributed in Australia by Melbourne rail engineering specialists, Unique Rail, and was developed in Germany by G. Zwiehoff GmbH in collaboration with Linde Material Handling. 

It can move loads of up to 250 tonnes and can effortlessly pull high-speed ICE trains and freight trains into maintenance sheds or train-wash facilities. By comparison, a diesel-powered shunting locomotive consumes up to 20 litres/hour simply standing still, while the energy consumption of the ROTRAC E2 remains practically zero. 

Unique Rail Managing Director, Fabian Borgonha, congratulated Zwiehoff on the innovative ROTRAC and the environmental award.  He said the innovation from Zwiehoff continued with the recent introduction of a larger model, the ROTRAC E4, with a shunting capacity up to 500 tonnes.

*According to the rules for the concept vehicle category, honours are awarded to “ecologically advanced cars, trucks and two-wheel vehicles” that are not produced in high volumes. Gerd Zwiehoff, CEO of G. Zwiehoff GmbH, was particularly happy: “The award means a lot to us, as ROTRAC E2 is neither a car nor a truck and yet it attracted the attention of the judges. Together with Linde we have introduced electromobility into a sector that previously no one would have associated with electromobility at all. We take this prize as a confirmation to continue thinking outside the box and try out new approaches with our cooperation partner.”