Fields of application of track tamping

The 1-sleeper tamping unit – well-proven simplicity

This „classic“ tamping unit is equipped with eight tamping tines arranged in pairs which produce a new sleeper bed at each rail-sleeper intersection.


  • machine quality for short track sections
  • simple operation
  • suited for a wide variety of machines ranging from small machine frames to the simplest continuous action machine

Cyclic 2-sleeper tamping

The tamping unit is equipped with a total of 16 tamping tines arranged in pairs and allows two sleepers to be tamped during each tamping insertion. It has proven its efficiency a thousand times over in the cyclic action 2-sleeper track tamping machines of the Plasser 08 series.

What counts is the implementation of an idea

30 years ago, a technical concept evolved from an idea to increase the cost-efficiency of tamping work. It has continued to set standards even to this day. The technical basis was laid early on: the U-shaped design of the machine’s main frame and the positioning of the work units between the axles. However, it was always necessary to accelerate and brake the entire machine mass to be able to tamp. Due to the separation into a continuously moving main frame and a cyclic-action subframe, less than 20 % of the machine mass has to be accelerated and braked.

The continuous classic for 2-sleeper tamping

In continuous action 2-sleeper tamping, the tamping tines are located in a special unit frame separated from the machine. The result: significantly increased working speeds and drastically improved ergonomics. Today, Duomatic machines of the 09 series are THE standard in continuous action tamping machines throughout the world.

We also offer the 2-sleeper tamping unit in various 2X designs:

  • Split Head design – The units are split in longitudinal direction to the track, the left or right half can each be lowered separately.
  • 1X/2X design –The units are split crosswise to the track, enabling the switch-over to 1-sleeper tamping at any time.
  • 1X/2X design with gradual insertion of the tamping tine rows enabling a more careful and easier penetration in heavily encrusted and hard ballast beds.

3-sleeper tamping for short track possessions

This unit tamps three sleepers per tamping insertion. The tamping unit is divided into sections allowing the switch over to single sleeper tamping at any time.

In 1996, the 3-sleeper tamping technology was introduced for the first time. Since then, it has been highly successful throughout the world. More than 300 machines equipped with 3-sleeper tamping units are operated by many railway administrations offering numerous benefits: minimum work site occupation, better use of track possessions, reduced costs for administration and staff.

Benefits of continuous action 3-sleeper tamping

  • Higher working speeds
  • Higher working quality – extension of the track’s service life – higher work durability
  • Reduced line occupation times
  • Reduced track maintenance costs

Centertool technology

The Centertool tamping units stand out due to the positioning of the tamping tines. Only straight tines in slim and compact design are used. As a result, the penetration area is reduced while the squeeze path is extended.

In addition to an increase in tamping quality and durability, the penetration resistance is reduced. The longer service life of the Centertool unit’s tamping tines also reduces the costs involved in regular maintenance.

Fast – faster – 4X: 4-sleeper tamping

Since 2005, the 4-sleeper track tamping unit has allowed tamping four sleepers in one working pass. In addition, the unit is in split design to allow tamping in 1-sleeper or 2-sleeper mode in the event of irregular sleeper spacings.

The penetration resistance of the ballast bed is kept low thanks to the intertwined positioning of the inner tamping tine pairs. When tamping track curves, the units are automatically centred over the rails.

Besides the high output achieved, the huge advantages of 4-sleeper tamping are the high level of track quality and its durability. As the machine moves forward, the area of the four sleepers that have just been tamped is subjected to stress and fixed by the following subframe bogie. This prevents any elastic rebound of the track after tamping, lining and lifting. The larger tamping area covering four sleepers achieves a more homogeneous and stable track geometry.

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