Railway Operations & Milled Peat
When milled peat is harvested during the summer months, it is stockpiled on “pile” fields on the bogs. Bord na Mona transport approximately 3 million tonnes of milled peat by rail annually. Most of this milled peat (2.7 million tonnes) supplies the three peat fired power stations in the midlands, the remainder (0.3 million tonnes) is supplied to the Briquette and Horticulture Factories.
Peat haulage generally operates 6 days a week. Operatives, usually but not always, works in pairs known as the double rake system, will each collect a locomotive pulling a “rake” of 16 open wagons at the power station or factory and proceed to the nominated stockpile of peat for loading. At the stockpile of peat, one operative will load the wagons with an excavator while the other operative shunts the wagons. Once the wagons are loaded the rakes of peat are hauled back to the power station or factory by the locomotives. Operating procedures such as the number of wagons etc, may differ from works to work.
The average run from power station to stockpile and back again is 20 km and can take up to 4 hours. Each rake transports an average of 95 tonnes of peat; hence in excess of 30,000 rakes are hauled to the power stations and factories each year.