Hi-rail EWP hire; wet hire or dry hire?

06/10/2021

Hi-rail EWP hire; wet hire or dry hire?

In the rail industry, hi-rail EWPs (Elevated Work Platforms) are often used to undertake railway maintenance works including track expansion, signal work, or junction upgrades. Whether you wet hire or dry hire a hi-rail EWP can have a significant impact on the outcome of your railway repair or maintenance project. But what is the difference between wet hire and dry hire for hi-rail EWP? Let’s find out.

What is a hi-rail EWP?

EWP stands for Elevated Work Platform. An EWP is a working platform that can be lifted and lowered so an operator can perform their work in hard to access places or move equipment from one level to another. EWP is a categorical term which includes machines such as boom lifts, telescopic lifts, and scissor lifts.

A hi-rail EWP is an EWP that has been modified to operate both on roads and on railways. The term ‘hi-rail’ is just a combination of ‘highway’ and ‘rail’. Hi-rail EWP’s

Do you need a licence to operate a hi-rail EWP?

To operate a boom lift EWP with a boom length of over 11 metres, an operator is required to hold a licence. The required licence is a WP High Risk Work (HRW) licence issued by a Work Health and Safety Regulator. In New South Wales, the Work Health and Safety Regulator is SafeWork NSW.

Boom lifts under 11 metres and all other types of EWP do not require the operator to hold a licence. However, the operator must still be able to show proof of training or accreditation. Most operators obtain this training by undertaking a Yellow Card course. A Yellow Card is a nationally recognised industry licence that is issued by the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia.

Check the type of EWP you’re planning to use and its size to discern whether you need to hire an accredited operator for your project.

The pros and cons of hi-rail EWP dry hire

Hi-rail EWP dry hire does not include an operator. If you have the experience and correct licences to operate a hi-rail EWP, the dry hire option will certainly be cheaper because you will not have to pay for an operator’s labour.


If you can provide your own ticketed operator, their labour costs may be cheaper depending on what has been contracted. However, it may be cheaper with some wet hire companies to hire both the machine and the operator rather than providing your own separately.


Dry hire also comes with a level of risk. Even if you have the correct licences, you or your provided operator may not be proficient working with the hired hi-rail EWP. This increases the chances of using the hi-rail EWP incorrectly which then heightens the risk of injury or damage to the project and compromises safety. A less skilled hi-rail EWP operator may also take far longer to complete the work.

The pros and cons of hi-rail EWP wet hire

When you wet hire a hi-rail EWP, the provided operator will control the machine. This will increase the hire cost as you will be paying for the operator’s labour as well as the hi-rail EWP hire and fuel costs.

The benefit, however, is that the provided operator has the correct licence and training as well as a level of familiarity with the hi-rail EWP unit that allows them to complete work with a high level of efficiency and skill. In theory, almost anyone can obtain the correct training and licences to operate a hi-rail EWP. However, becoming proficient at carrying out railway maintenance works using a specific type of hi-rail EWP can only happen through hands-on experience.

What is the difference between wet hire and dry hire?

A wet hire service will include the hi-rail EWP and a qualified operator while dry hire provides the hi-rail EWP only. If you decide to dry hire a hi-rail EWP, you will need to operate the machine yourself or provide an operator for it.

Hi-Range Crane Forks offers hi-rail crane wet hire

At Hi-Range Crane Forks, we provide both wet hire and dry hire options on our hi-rail EWPs available across New South Wales. Contact Hi-Range Crane Forks today for a quote by calling

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