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Rail News Home MOW

September 2022

Rail News: MOW

Maintenance of way: Surfacing and tamping equipment options

The X16 production/switch tamper features 16 tools, integrated high-speed measurement and automated tamping.
Photo – Harsco Rail


Compiled by Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor

Ballast Tools Inc. 

For more than 40 years, Ballast Tools Inc. (BTI) has provided ground-engaging parts designed to provide increased wear resistance and improved performance. The company offers tungsten carbide ground-engaging tools for tampers, ballast regulators, undercutters, and tie and rail maintenance equipment. 

BTI engineers and manufactures tamping tools in various styles for many tamping machines, all produced with solid tungsten carbide protection. The carbide features a high-impact stretch, and can resist wear and impact applications longer than steel, according to BTI. The extended part life helps reduce downtime and increase production and crews’ efficiency.  

All the tools are manufactured at BTI’s 130,000-square-foot plant in Festus, Missouri. The company strives to provide cutting-edge tamping products and partner with customers to help solve maintenance-of-way machine wear problems. 

Harsco Rail 

Harsco Rail strives to ensure its surfacing equipment — a suite of tampers, stabilizers, ballast regulators and track lifters — continually evolves. The company integrates new technologies and incorporates changes so its equipment better aligns with customers’ needs.  

“A clear example of this is the launch of the TX16 production/switch tamper, a culmination of experience from an extensive tamper portfolio, global expertise and innovative solutions that result in a 16-tool tamper with unprecedented work-window utilization,” Harsco Rail officials said. 

Today’s railroads demand improved scheduling, high equipment utilization, digitization and equipment that’s easy to use, they said. They seek solutions that combat declining maintenance windows and a transitional knowledge gap in their labor force, as well as support data-driven decisions and asset tracking. 

The TX16 delivers on all those fronts with increased productivity from startup to shutdown, they said. The TX16 is designed to speed up every aspect of daily work while performing it safely. It offers cab deployable/stowable reference, integrated high-speed measurement, automated tamping and hybrid index to increase overall productivity.  

The TX16 leverages Harsco Rail’s multigenerational product, technology and service experience — such as the Jupiter Control, Callisto Protamp and Mobile Asset Recording System — to safely deliver high production and accurate track correction within a reliable, versatile and truckable 16-tool tamper, company officials said. 

Plasser American 

Plasser’s TampLink® universal interface designed for better tamping connectivity is standard on all its GRM3000T switch production units.
Plasser American

In terms of dynamic design, Plasser American offers the 09-2X DYNACAT, which targets high capacity, precision and reliability. The 09-2X DYNACAT is designed to combine multi-tie tamping for increased productivity. 

The machine features a dynamic track stabilizer that can perform production and switch tamping with one operator. Older models of the DYNACAT can be updated as part of a complete factory remodel and upgrade, Plasser American officials said.  

To address the needs of transit-system customers, the company offers the METRO 4X4, a heavy-duty, high-performance switch and production tamper. Designed to meet the stringent requirements of transit systems, the machine is automatic and computer-controlled — the AGGS lifting, leveling and lining systems are standard, Plasser American officials said. 

In addition, Plasser American offers the TampLink® universal interface for better tamping connectivity. The interface — which is standard on all GRM3000T switch production tampers — includes all the electrical, electronic, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical connections needed to seamlessly connect with Plasser’s tamping trailers, switch/spot/chase tamper or the PTS90C dynamic stabilizer.   

“This eliminates the need for additional operators or machine modifications, providing our customers with increased flexibility and efficiency in the field,” Plasser American officials said. 

RCE Equipment Solutions 

RCE’s three new series Railavators are outfitted with ultra life axles produced from high-strength alloy steel that’s structurally stronger than cast-iron final drives.
RCE Equipment Solutions

RCE Equipment Solutions recently introduced three new series Railavators, the John Deere models 210G, 245G and 250G hi-rail excavators. The company’s most popular machine due to its quality and versatility, the Railavator features a patented hydraulic-powered and retractable hi-rail so it can be used on and off track, RCE officials said. 

The new series Railavators are outfitted with new ultra life axles, final drives that are produced from high-strength alloy steel that’s two times structurally stronger than existing cast-iron final drives, they said.  

“Many rail maintenance operations require severe duty applications with high-point loading. The ultra life axles have overall increased axle-bearing capacity and are rebuildable/repairable,” RCE officials said.  

The new Railavators also offer many design enhancements, including a new hydraulic system. RCE added more components in the common manifold to reduce the number of hoses, separate components and joints, which potentially could leak. 

The company also updated the Railavator structure — including the hi-rail linkages and supports — to extend the support gussets and add weight to the links and frames.  

“These modifications reduce frame-flexing and potential cracking. The main drive frame is aligned in all axis for drive components,” RCE officials said.  

Other improvements targeted the drive axle mounting — which has been changed to provide more strength and durability — the axle mount and front/rear bumpers and tow points. An improved rotary manifold offers a higher pressure rating and longer life, and a push-button monitor controls the hi-rail and attachments from inside a cab. Attachments include a single or dual tamper head.

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