[′trak ‚shif·tər]
A machine or appliance used to shift a railway track laterally.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a machine used in open-pit mining to shift railroad tracks by moving them aside, without dismantling the track into sections.

Trackshifters are operated cyclically or continuously. Those designed for cyclic operation are used for small-scale work. The mechanism that grips the rails is tong-shaped. The trackshifter, moving together with the gripped length of track, is aided by a rack-and-pinion mechanism and a bedplate. The track is moved a distance of 0.7–0.9 m, and the machine’s capacity is 1,300–1,600 m2 per shift.

Trackshifters designed for continuous operation are used in large-scale work. Three types are manufactured: bridge, cantilever, and combined trackshifters. Bridge trackshifters move tracks with heavy rails; the cantilever trackshifters are generally used in dead-end locations. The operating mechanism is a roller grip, used to lift the track to a height of 0.2–0.4 m and move it aside as the trackshifter moves. The track is moved a distance of 0.3–0.4 m, and the machine’s capacity is 300–700 m2/hr, or up to 1,500 m2/hr on straight sections. Some trackshifters can move either on rails or by means of a transverse caterpillar drive. Continuous shifting of track without dismantling is also performed by turndozers, whose capacity reaches 7,000 m2/hr.


Mel’nikov, N. V. Kratkii spravochnik po otkrytym gornym rabotam, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.