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News From Around The World: Pakistan

First ballast cleaning machine for Pakistan

In 2015, Plasser & Theurer won an international tender lodged by Pakistan Railways for a modern ballast cleaning system. In early summer 2016, the RM 80 UHR high-capacity ballast cleaning machine was supplied to Pakistan. Since then, it has operated to the full satisfaction of Pakistan Railways.

Pakistan Railways employs around 90,000 members of staff and operates a rail network of about 8,000 kilometres of track. Ninety-five percent of this network are covered with broad gauge tracks of 1,676 mm. Currently 65 million passengers are transported by Pakistan Railways each year. Most trains travel in the densely populated provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Rich in raw materials, the country has many freight stations for freight transport.

Modernisation and upgrade of the infrastructure. Currently, Pakistan Railways is making ambitious plans for the modernisation and upgrade of the railway. The plan aims at enabling higher speeds, increasing the number of double-track lines, and increasing axle loads for freight transportation on its network.

To meet these objectives as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible, investments in modern track maintenance technology have been made. In this context, Plasser & Theurer supplied four Duomatic 08-32 C cyclic action levelling, lifting, lining and tamping machines in 2015. 

Local newspaper report


The acquisition of the first ballast cleaning machine for Pakistan has set a clear trend.

The first ballast cleaning machine to be operated in Pakistan was also a topic in the country’s print media: “Pakistan Railways has acquired a new machine that cleans ballast and replaces old tracks within a few hours. In this short time, the machine carries out works that, in the past, had taken months.”

Change-over to mechanised ballast cleaning. The acquisition of the first ballast cleaning machine for Pakistan has set a clear trend, given that these works were carried out only manually up to now. In 2015, however, the decision was made to use mechanised methods of work. As a result, an international tender for a modern ballast cleaning system was lodged. 

Plasser & Theurer won the tender for a high-capacity ballast cleaning machine, machine model RM 80 UHR. The machine is the state of the art in on-track ballast bed cleaning. It can be used both on plain track and in turnouts. The experts in Pakistan were impressed by the machine’s performance during the first operations.

Contracts for additional machines. Immediately after the supply of the first ballast cleaning machine, Plasser & Theurer was awarded contracts for the supply of one APT 1500 RA mobile fully automatic rail welding robot using flash-butt welding technology, two GWS 75 cyclic action 1-sleeper tamping machines for tracks and turnouts, and four SWM 15 single sleeper exchange machines with rail lifting device.

Facebook post of the Minister Mr. Khawaja Saad Rafique


Khawaja Saad Rafique posted the following comment to a video on his Facebook page showing the new RM 80 UHR during operation: 

“Tremendous revolution in the history of Pakistan Railways. Pakistan has purchased first in its history. Such innovation will also enhance our status in leading nations in rail systems. This will reduce time and cost tremendously in maintenance of track plus improve quality.”