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More ballast bashing with Matisa

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Matisa, the Swiss manufacturer of track maintenance machines that was established in 1945, has supplied equipment all over the world.

The company has been active in the UK since 1964 and is currently based in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.

In that time, it has delivered many machines since the early LRC03 Tampers and R7 Ballast Regulators.

Last year, the rail engineer (issue 69, July 2010) looked at two new types of machines being developed for Balfour Beatty. These have now been delivered, so it is time to look at them in a bit more detail and see what else Matisa has been up to.

B41UE Tampers

Whilst the new B41UE Tampers recently delivered to Balfour Beatty are similar to those that are already in operation in the UK, a number of detailed improvements have been made to the machines.

Health and Safety has been reviewed in accordance with both the latest legislation and Balfour Beatty’s internal policies. This has led to small but important modifications to tools handling, access ladder design and the floor structure to reduce the risk of injury during both operation and maintenance.

The CATT Guiding system has been developed for both known and unknown track geometries, enhancing the user interface through a better visual appearance and additional tools such as reverse measuring. These enhancements can reduce possession times by taking fewer passes.

B66UC Tampers

The new B66UC universal tamping machine is a major innovation for the UK market as it is the first high performance plain line and switches and crossings tamping machine which is fully compliant with third rail electrification.

Based on the proven technology of the B41UE, the B66UC is fitted with a shuttle that has a higher tamping output.

It uses the same efficient high-frequency eccentric tamping technology but within a continuous action arrangement that deliver excellent output when in plain line operation.

In points and crossings mode, output will be as good as the B41UE, but on plain track it is a lot quicker.

Especially designed for Balfour Beatty, the B66UC is fitted with a brush box to clear the tops of sleepers in the four foot and the clips on both sides of the rail.

Two additional brushes clear both sleeper ends but will automatically de-select in the presence of a conductor rail.

P95 Track Renewal Train

High-output Track Renewal Systems, known in the industry as TRS, have been used on the UK rail network for many years.

Currently there are 4 different systems, all owned by Network Rail and operated by AmeyColas, and all slightly different for differing applications.

The latest system, TRS4, includes the second P95 Track Renewal Train (TRT) in the country.

Pretty similar to the first one, delivered in 2005 and currently working in TRS2, this new version has some improvements. Based on experience operating the earlier unit, equipment such as rail guards, rail pullers, fastening brushes and rail transfer clamps have been added or improved.

The core of the train is 6 different wagons with a total length of 140m , all interconnected but each carrying out different processes with the end result of removing old rails and sleepers and relaying new units in a continuous action.

The new rail transfer clamps have been included at the request of Network Rail. They transfer the old rail, previously left in either the six- or four- foot, to the cess. This allows for easier collection later.

Equipped with two Deutz 2015 400 kW engines powering 16 axles, the normal working speed is an average of 350 m/h.

New sleepers are passed forward from the wagons towards the rear of the train by three gantry cranes of two different types.

Two PMP cranes transfer 24 sleepers at a time along the length of the machine at an astonishing 18 kph (11mph), while one P2RL gantry rotates two sets of six sleepers simultaneously.

One problem when removing and replacing track simultaneously is that of excess ballast. This can cause the new track to be laid at a higher level than the original which can cause clearance issues, particularly where overhead electrified lines are present.

Additionally, that excess of ballast can create large ballast shoulders which can cause other problems when laying the new track.

With the reduction of possession times becoming ever more desirable, a quick and effective solution to the problem of excess ballast had to be found. So for the new P95 track renewal train, Matisa, working together with Network Rail, developed the D75, an additional ballast transfer unit.

D75 Ballast Transfer Unit

The new D75 is based on an existing integrated system currently used on the Matisa C75 and operating in Italy, Belgium, Netherland and Spain, although it had to be redesigned to W6A gauge for the UK.

It has been developed to be coupled to the Track Renewal Train and can lower the track down to an excavation level of 270mm below sleeper bottom, after relaying. The D75 can also be used independently.

Equipped with two Deutz 2015 400kW engines, the new D75 ballast transfer unit has an output of 500m3/h.

The whole track renewals train, including a D75 and D93, is 160 metres long with a total weight of nearly 600 tons.

Add to this up to 20 sleeper wagons and this moving factory can reach an overall length of almost 600 metres.


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