Universal tamping technology for tracks and turnouts

Split Head technology

Split Head tamping units for work on tracks, turnouts and crossings are tamping units divided in longitudinal direction of the machine. Each of the two halves of the unit can be lowered and put into action separately from the other. Additionally, both halves of the unit, depending on the design, can be laterally displaced together or individually.

For operation on sections of plain track the two halves are locked together to form a tamping unit for tracks.

We also offer Duomatic tamping units in Split Head design. In addition, the units can be fitted with tilting tamping tines.

Benefit of the Split Head technology

One unit – in the respective size and design – meets any requirement across the entire sector of track and turnout maintenance.


Presented in 2016, the 8x4 tamping unit combines these features. In addition, it can work in 1-sleeper and 2-sleeper mode and meets any requirement across the entire sector of track and turnout maintenance.

The classic turnout tamping unit

This simple tamping unit is fitted with four tamping tines. Positioned in pairs, they can be tilted individually. The additional lateral displacement of the tamping units in the machine frame makes it possible to tamp the entire turnout or crossing, including the frog area.


The expanded version of this tamping unit has a total of eight tamping tines that are arranged in pairs and can be tilted individually. Thus, the so-called universal tamping unit is ideally suited for tamping both plain track (connecting track or station tracks) and turnouts and crossings.


  • Versatile application
  • Simple operation
  • Ideally suited for small networks

4-rail tamping

Four tamping units with a total of 16 or 32 tines are used. The outer units are mounted on telescope jibs and can be slewed out far enough to allow tamping the long bearers of the diverging rail in the turnout. This is an ideal supplement to automated synchronous three-rail lifting. Positioned on transverse guide columns, the inner tamping units can be displaced laterally. This enables them to be operated in the area inside and outside the respective rails.

All four tamping units can be turned and thus adapted to the slanting position of the sleepers.

Depending on the type of tamping unit chosen, up to 24 tamping tines can be tilted. When in basic position, these tines are positioned just like on plain line tamping machines.

These constructional features ensure high-quality, exact tamping of tracks and all kinds of turnout designs.

The slewing limitation prevents fouling of the adjacent track clearance gauge during work.

Benefits of 4-rail tamping

  • Universal application for tracks and all kinds of turnout designs
  • Increased working output
  • The long bearers in the diverging track of a turnout are optimally fixed during the maintenance of the main track

Special applications

The proven Plasser & Theurer tamping technology can also be used under unusual operating conditions. Custom-made designs for mining companies and special designs for work on tracks with a live rail are operated successfully worldwide. Individually positioned tamping units enable tracks with special sleeper designs, such as Y-type sleepers, to be tamped.

Sleeper-end consolidators

Using hydraulically powered sleeper-end consolidators, the ballast around the sleeper ends is compacted.

Noise protection and sound-insulating features

To reduce the noise emitted during work, the tamping machines can be fitted with sound protection panels at the tamping units and sound-insulated features in the engine compartment. This is important for the operation in densely built-up areas, for instance in Japan. The intake and output of cooling air and the exhaust units are equipped with special sound insulation. This results in a substantial reduction of the working noise, particularly during tamping.

To counteract possible generation of dust during the tamping process and to provide the operator with good visibility, particularly when using noise protection panels, a water spray system can be installed at the tamping units. It is activated when the tamping units are lowered and switched off when they are lifted.