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Universal travellers

Here today, there tomorrow. Track maintenance machines in road-rail design move fast and flexibly on the road - ideal for operation in cities or on industrial worksites.

Track maintenance machines that can travel on roads. Compact, small heavy-duty track maintenance machines. Special universal tamping machines. These three seemingly contradictory descriptions accurately show what maintenance operators associate with the Plassermatic 08-275 ZW and UST 79 S machine types. They are the two somewhat unconventional universal tamping machines that move in cities and on motorways alike to fulfil special tasks.

Operating in the inner city, travelling on the motorway

The vast world of rail traffic is not just large railway networks and long lines. The world’s many urban networks, industrial and harbour railways, and even narrow-gauge tracks are the natural habitat of track maintenance machines that are movable on the road. On a flat-bed trailer or configured as a semi-trailer, the all-rounders reach the respective, often tightly dimensioned worksites quickly and directly. With a length of only around 12.6 and 14.6 m, these heavy-duty machines with a 1-sleeper universal tamping unit are designed to be so compact that they can be easily moved and manoeuvred in road traffic. Their dimensions, maximum total weight, and minimum speed meet the specifications for motorways. The universal tamping machines blend seamlessly into the narrow layouts of inner cities and busy areas. Digital assistants, known from "large heavy-duty machines", such as the SmartALC automatic guiding computer, PlasserDatamatic, or the RedBox data record­ing system, are also standard equipment here. The machines themselves work with the highest precision and effectiveness. Despite their extremely compact design, they have all the necessary measuring and working equipment on board - including road-rail technology.

Quick transfer between lorry and rail

Changing from road to rail and vice versa takes place within a few minutes. The only requirement is a short paved or asphalted stretch of road. The Plassermatic 08-275 ZW, a rail vehicle only, loads itself onto a normal flat-bed trailer using long lifting jacks at all four corners. The trailer simply travels under the raised machine. Before the work starts, it sets itself down on the track automatically. If it has to change its working direction or if only a narrow crossing is available for on-tracking, a central hydraulic jack with a turntable enables the machine to be turned on the spot. There are also designs available for other gauges as well as for lines with Y-steel sleepers.

The UST 79 S is designed differently: on one machine end, it has a hydraulically retractable and extendable three-axle road-based running gear. On the other end, there is a bogie pivot compatible with any other fifth-wheel coupling for lorries. At the construction site, the three-axle bogie is retracted and a bogie that can run on tracks (normal or narrow gauge) rails in. Once the traction vehicle has moved away, the machine, which a few moments before was still a semi-trailer, also hydraulically settles at this end onto a rail bogie.

17,000th machine by Plasser & Theurer

The Plassermatic 08-275 ZW has already been built in several different versions for customers in a number of European countries in recent years. With its tamping unit in split-head design, it is suitable both for plain track maintenance and for use in turnouts. Despite all the standardisation for the mostly similar application profiles and global focus, there are also differences in design. The machine intended for use in Poland, for example, adheres to a slightly lower weight specification. This allows it to be transported within the country without a special permit. The operator will be the Polish company Gór-Tor Sp.z o.o. based in Olszewo-Boki. This purchase, which offers a competitive advantage, is a response to the rapidly increasing demand for the maintenance of urban networks in Poland.

UST 79 S with road-based running gear

Due to its special features, the UST 79 S universal tamping machine has already been a successful model for several decades, especially in urban networks. It has been developed further multiple times and always remained state of the art. Spot-tamping or re-tamping on specific sections are performed quickly with the UST 79 S, as is switching to the other track even without a turnout.

Even more road-rail technology

Plasser & Theurer's range of products also includes other road-rail machines that are highly specialised for their respective work applications. Based on road-rail lorries, the Plasser FlashTruck quickly reaches any location accessible by rail or road to perform perfect flash-butt welding. If entire railway lines have to be rehabilitated after storms or complete station areas have to be completely redesigned, the ZRM 350 ballast cleaning machine and with it MFS 40/4 ZW hopper units with extendable crawler tracks are also used where there are neither rails nor sleepers.

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