Tamping machine

Published on 13 March 2008 (updated on 8 April 2008)
Heavy duty tamping machine.

A self-powered machine that levels and straightens the track.
The new generation of tamping and straightening machines are about 25 metres long and made up of three units.

The front unit houses the controls for driving and operating the machine. This is where the machine operator works from, providing all the geometrical data required for the machine to correct the track defects detected by the sensors (the operator corrects this data on the basis of information from other monitoring devices).

This unit has a driving cab for when the machine travels between worksites and an area where the crew can eat and rest.

Under its frame there are sensors that measure the rail during operation. These provide the data needed to control the machine’s operation.

Close-up of the tamping units (photos ETF)

The central unit is the productive part of the machine. It houses:
- a 400HP internal combustion engine to move and operate the machine,
- a track lifting unit that is used during levelling and straightening works,
- and a tamping unit that can tamp up to three sleeprs simultaneously.

It also houses measurement and monitoring sensors and the cab for the technician responsible for tamping or driving the machine between locations.

The rear unit also houses measurement and monitoring sensors. It has a brush fitted with rubber rolls which spreads excess stone on either side of the track with the aid of a rubber mat. Adjustable flaps grade the ballast after the works. The vehicle also transports stocks of parts and the fuel and the oil it requires.