As with all mechanised track construction work, ballast cleaning, too, presents a number of preconditions that the construction machines have to meet in order to ensure high-quality cleaning. On the one hand, this concerns the work units of the machines and their design, on the other hand, the size of the machine is a decisive factor for its respective use.

Expert tip

Plasser & Theurer ballast cleaning machines = reliable machines with high availability

Not every cleaning machine is suitable for all purposes. Therefore, it is paramount for the customer or operating company to

have a close look at the conditions beforehand, e.g. size of work site (length etc.),

desired number of cleaning kilometres per year, number and duration of possessions and the anticipated degree of ballast bed fouling.

Other important factors for the design and construction of a cleaning machine are the maximum track centre distance, the maximum gradient and minimum working radii as well as the clearance gauge and the resulting limitations that the machine is subject to when working on the track.


The output and quality of a cleaning machine and the resulting service life of the ballast bed essentially depend on two factors:

  • the excavating chain and its dimensioning and drive
  • the optimisation of the vibrating screening unit with special focus on quality and performance

The excavating chain(s) and screening unit(s) together define the output and output category of an RM cleaning machine.

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