Track replacement train

Published on 14 March 2008 (updated on 18 March 2008)

This is a self-propelled machine that uses a production line technique to remove old track and lay new track.

Track renewal train (photo JJ D’ANGELO)

Track renewal train

Laying new track using a production line approach requires a machine which consists several parts and which tows wagons that carry the equipment.

The purpose of the machine is to perform the following varied list of operations for brief working periods:

- delivery of new sleepers and removal of old sleepers
- removal of old rails and laying of new rails
- removal of old sleepers and laying of new sleepers in the same position.

To this end the machine is equipped with devices to :

- pull the sleeper replacement train,
- remove the fastenings that fix the rails to the sleepers, load them onto a wagon and sort them,
- remove old rails,
- remove old sleepers, convey them onto a wagon and pack them on it,
- convey the new sleepers, lay them in accordance with the rules of best practice, namely: equidistant and at right angles to the track. The sleepers are laid on a bed of compacted ballast which is graded to achieve the recommended level and crossfall,
- lay the new rail on the sleepers and fix the rail to them when the sleepers have premounted fastenings.

In France, two modern machines are in service:

- One, designed by MATISA, is known as the "ORYX train" and is operated by ETF (EuropĂ©enne de Travaux Ferroviaire)
- The other has been designed by PLASSER-THEURER and is known as the "GIPERAIL train". It is operated by SECO-RAIL and TSO.