Track-Maintenance Machine

Track-Maintenance Machine


a machine that cleans cinders, snow, and dirty ballast from railroad tracks. It also chips away ice, excavates the area between the tracks, and removes excess ballast from slopes and ditches. In the USSR, the first track-maintenance machines were developed and put into service in the early 1940’s.

Elements mounted on the frame of a track-maintenance machine include two disk scarifiers that break up the earth between the tracks or on the slopes and a collecting apparatus that consists of two wings and two flaps for transferring the material collected between the tracks to the center of the track. A bucket chain hoist removes the material from the track, and two side hoists remove it from the area between the tracks or from the slopes and also excavate the area between the tracks to a depth of up to 0.5 m. A lengthwise conveyor and a swinging belt conveyor move the material loaded by the hoists into railroad cars. The track-maintenance machine also has an ice-chipping device in the form of a toothed shield.

Specially designed open cars are coupled to the track-maintenance machine. The floor of these cars consists of an apron conveyor that transports the collected material through the length of the train. If the swinging belt conveyor is set to operate across the track, the material may also be loaded into standard open cars or flatcars stationed on an adjacent track.

Track-maintenance machines are moved by a locomotive. Their components are powered by electricity from a power plant installed on the machine and are operated by compressed air supplied from the locomotive. The machine’s capacity is up to 500 m3/hr for dirty ballast and up to 1,500 m3/hr for snow and ice. Its speed during operation is 3–5 km/hr and up to 80 km/hr when moving from place to place.

Modernized track-maintenance machines also have a rotating brush-equipped feeder that collects material from the track up to the level of the ties. They also have lateral brushes for cleaning the area between the tracks and a slanted conveyor that loads the material collected by the feeder onto a lengthwise conveyor.


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