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Efficient railway maintenance with the latest technology

The next generation of maintenance machines

CatenaryCrafter and MultiCrafter - the new generation of track construction and maintenance machines by Plasser & Theurer. With a new, modular design and increased efficiency, these machines change the way we maintain the safety and reliability of our railway infrastructure. Welcome to the future of railway maintenance.

Modern machines for a modern mode of transport

The railway is experiencing a great comeback! At a time in which topics such as climate change and the reduction in CO₂ emissions become ever more prevalent, the railway remains one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly modes of transport. In order to ensure the reliable and safe operation of railway infrastructure, regular maintenance and a speedy troubleshooting response are crucial.

Plasser & Theurer has been developing track construction and maintenance machines for the railway for 70 years. With the new Plasser CatenaryCrafter and Plasser MultiCrafter product families, they have been taken to the next level.

Our maintenance machines can be individually configured to include hydraulic platforms and cranes, providing maximum adaptability for the intended application scenarios.

The Plasser CatenaryCrafter series of vehicles is used for the construction and maintenance of overhead contact lines. In addition, Plasser MultiCrafters are for universal tasks in track maintenance. But also for unforeseen events, for example after storm damage, these types of vehicles will be the first to arrive at the scene and make sure that the railway line can be reopened for traffic as quickly as possible. They may carry out the required inspections and repairs on overhead contact lines or repair faults caused by fallen trees, for example. These vehicles also play on their strengths when keeping the permanent way and the structure gauge clear, and they can be equipped with tools for clearing vegetation or snow. In the appropriate configuration, they can also be used for bridge inspections.

High adaptability

These vehicles massively increase the adaptability to individual needs. Their size, equipment, and drive configurations can be adapted flexibly to the designated area of operation and thus provide the greatest possible efficiency.

The Plasser CatenaryCrafter is available in four sizes: wheelbases of 6.5 m or 9 m and bogie pivot distances of 12.5 m or 15.4 m. This makes it possible to cover various application scenarios.

In order to be able to work more flexibly at worksites and to perform different maintenance tasks, track construction companies will often rely on compact vehicles that can work on several different areas within a worksite. Especially in the construction of new track, the work is divided into different stages. For example, the sequence of erecting the masts, fastening the fittings and booms, laying the feeder cables and contact wire, and fitting the droppers. Furthermore, the position of the overhead contact line will need to be adjusted and measured in the final measuring run.

For track construction and maintenance providers, it is of particular importance to be able to adapt to customer requirements quickly and easily. At the other end of the spectrum, infrastructure managers with large networks tend to go for the bigger vehicle versions that are equipped for a broader range of requirements.

In addition to the high adaptability, all vehicle types impress with increased availability and operational reliability.

E³ drive for better sustainability​

The specially developed E³ drive allows for emission-free and quiet working in track maintenance. This meets an important criterion for an ecological worksite.

Apart from a conventional hydrostatic drive, the vehicles can be equipped with environmentally-friendly alternatives. Power is then supplied either via the overhead contact line, a battery, or a diesel-electric power pack. The battery has sufficient storage capacity to operate the working drive and all work units for a whole shift without emitting any pollutants. This saves on diesel and ensures the sustainability of the railway system, also in the areas of construction and maintenance. Especially when working in urban areas or tunnels, both local residents and workers benefit from the low-noise and emission-free operations. The battery can be combined with a diesel-electric power pack as well as power supply from the overhead contact line, which means that it can be charged during driving or through recuperation.

Behind the diesel-electric power pack is a diesel engine that supplies the drive and the work units with electricity via a downstream E-generator. This increases power efficiency compared to a conventional hydrostatic drive by over 10%, reduces diesel consumption, and requires significantly less maintenance.

For us, the Plasser & Theurer machines are an essential tool for maintaining overhead contact lines, permanent way, and superstructure. The new fleet is powered exclusively by electricity instead of diesel; the modular design offers flexibility and noticeably increases usability. That helps our rail network both in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality.

Judith Engel
Member of the ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG board of management

ModularCustomizing for more efficiency and individuality

In planning and production, maintenance machines are no longer considered to be individual items. Standard carrier vehicles are equipped with individual modules, depending on their activities and requirements.

Essentially, this results in four benefits:

High adaptability of the machines

Customers can equip the vehicles in line with their needs and install modules in line with their scope of activities. Underfloor installation of modules, such as the power pack, leaves more room for work units, cabs, or a loading bed.

Economic efficiency and availability

With the modular machine concept, the whole process, from tendering through to approval, can be made much more economical and shorter.

Furthermore, the standard carrier vehicle and the easier access for servicing significantly reduce the costs of spare parts and maintenance during operation. Modules with high availability requirements, such as power packs, can be stored on the machine and changed quickly if needed. This reduces downtimes and increases availability.

Shorter delivery times and simplified approval process

The modular design kit principle allows for both maximum adaptability and individuality as well as significantly shorter delivery times.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ModularCustomizing and the high degree of detailing in the documentation can reduce the machine approval periods significantly. This means great time savings, especially for machine versions.

Simple upgrades and quick retrofits

Maintenance machines are often used intensively over many decades. With standardized interfaces, it is much easier to exchange or retrofit modules. This way, machines will always be at the cutting edge of technology and, in addition, can be adapted to new areas of deployment.

MultiCrafter – transport and track specialist​

Apart from the CatenaryCrafter series of vehicles, which is mainly used for overhead contact line construction and maintenance, the MultiCrafter is designed for work on the track and area around the track. The integrated loading bed makes it easier to transport tools or materials quickly and safely. All the benefits of the modular structure apply here as well.

Full service capability even in winter​

Both CatenaryCrafters and MultiCrafters can be equipped with a snow cutter or snow brush, independent of their size. This ensures that the maintenance vehicles can be deployed in winter, too. With the integrated engine and hydraulic oil heating system, the machines are optimally equipped and work safely and reliably in low temperatures and snowfall.

ÖBB’s green fleet

ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG’s future-proof renewal of its maintenance fleet continues to pick up pace. As part of an event on 1 June 2023, together with ÖBB we presented the first of 56 new high-performance maintenance vehicles: a Plasser CatenaryCrafter 15.4 E³

The new CatenaryCrafters and MultiCrafters are replacing the maintenance vehicle fleet which ÖBB has been operating for decades. After 40 years, it can finally be retired. The E³ drive technology, which enables an environmentally friendly electric hybrid drive, was convincing in the tenders. A completely newly developed modular design is based on a standard carrier vehicle, engineered in three versions according to the specific task. The first vehicle in the series, a Plasser CatenaryCrafter 15.4 E³, is being tested exhaustively on Austrian rails: it is undergoing all the necessary approval processes in order to be deployed for regular operations as soon as possible.

With the new fleet, ÖBB and Plasser & Theurer provide impressive proof of how to develop and modernize the provision of efficient, sustainable rail infrastructure.

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