Working with Ballast

Moving and Consolidating Loose Ballast

Good quality ballast used correctly is most important to track quality. It must be angular in form, not rounded. It must be relatively free fron detritus and it must be applied correctly.

Tampers form ballast into dry pillars under each sleeper/rail joint to support the track, but elsewhere the ballast must be distributed in such a way as to form a firm anchor for the track, particularly in the case of continuous welded rail.

There are a variety of machines that distribute ballast to where it is needed and others that consolidate the ballast in the cribs (the spaces between the sleepers) and the shoulder (The part of the track outside the sleepers.) The Matisa machines illustrated are circa 1969 but modern machines will probably be similar.

Universal Ballast regulator R-6

The ballast regulator would be brought in after a ballast train to distribute, rake and plow the fresh ballast evenly.

Plowing to sleeper level

Plowing  shoulder

The RF82 has 8 vibrating ramming heads. This shows the machine ramming 2 cribs

The ballast cribbing machine type FR212, worked by a single operator is a self-mobile vehicle. There are 8 ballast forks mounted side by side that are carried by 2 robust horizontal arms which are able to move vertically at the front of the machine. The forks are moved laterally by hydraulic rams.

This machine enables the following operations to be carried out

  • to remove the ballast from one or two cribs as required
  • to bring in ballast from beyond the sleeper ends
  • to rake ballast covering the sleepers and/or from inside to outside of the rails
  • to clear ballast fron the centre of the track
  • to avoid sleepers becoming centre-bound
  • to tidy the work of shoulder cleaners.

I suspect the machine is posed on old track. In use there would be much more ballast on the track.

Cribbing machine - Windhoff System