The quality of the ballast bed is crucial for the quality of the track. In the system composed of rails, sleepers and ballast bed, it has important functions to fulfil. But most importantly, ballast must be clean.

Day-to-day traffic, climatic conditions or spilled freight, for instance on coal and mine railways, cause ballast fouling. The right maintenance strategy involves on-demand ballast cleaning. Our cleaning systems are the optimal technological solution. They offer maximum performance and excellent quality and provide a safe working environment for the staff – in any track situation.

QUALITY

The quality of the track starts with its individual components: rails and sleepers, ballast bed, subsoil and formation protective layer. The optimal track design (ballast quality, formation, cesses, etc.) has a positive effect on drainage, fouling and quality progression. However, not even maximum initial quality can prevent the track from ageing and fouling. Nor can it prevent the quality of the track geometry from deteriorating.

When this point has been reached, it is time for ballast bed cleaning. Today, ballast cleaning operations must meet the same expectations as, for instance, tamping operations: track possessions must be short, the machines must deliver high performance, excellent quality must be produced and the track must be re-opened for traffic at maximum speeds immediately after the works.

COSTS

Neglected ballast cleaning can result in high maintenance costs, cause speed restrictions and reduce the service life of the track. The resulting costs can get out of control, for instance if it becomes necessary to impose speed restrictions in order to maintain safe railway operations, or if a full track closure is needed to exchange the entire ballast bed quickly.

Ballast material is expensive. High-quality ballast cleaning makes it possible to increase the amount of reusable ballast. This saves large amounts of ballast and reduces not only the material costs but also the logistical effort for transporting material and spoil. In addition, stricter environmental protection requirements for track maintenance operations demand that the existing material be reprocessed and reinstalled.

SAFETY

Our ballast cleaning machines often work on lines with operation on the adjacent track. In such cases, a carefully designed safety and operating concept is crucial to ensure the safety of the machine crew. Cabins and safe workplaces in the area of the main excavation units and the shoulder excavating unit provide a safe working environment.

Safety also includes a more stable track geometry through on-time ballast cleaning and planning reliability for the maintenance tasks.

Depending on the track type and track spacing, it takes between 3,000 to 5,000 m3 of ballast to produce one kilometre of double-track line. Such quantities of ballast require optimised material resources and cost-efficient material handling.