The core element of the High Output Ballast Cleaning System No. 5 (HOBCS 5) is composed of the RM 900 ballast cleaning machine and the 09-2X / CM tamping and consolidating machine. Apart from excavating and cleaning the old material, the RM 900 also enables the supply of new ballast.

Together, cleaned and new ballast form the first of three ballast layers inserted into the track. The second layer exclusively consists of new ballast inserted by the 09-2X / CM. It places both layers in the optimum position using dynamic track stabilisers and a two-sleeper tamping unit.

The core system also includes transport systems for spoil and new ballast. Spoil is passed on to the power wagon (PW) over the RM 900 in the direction of work and then on to the 22 MFS material conveyor and hopper units located at the front. The supply system for new ballast is located behind the 09-2X / CM. being composed of 22 MFS units and a power wagon (N-PW), it is responsible for inserting the third ballast layer.

A special requirement to be met by the HOBCS 5 is the efficient use of short track possessions during the week. To be able to reopen the track for rail traffic once the works have been completed, a set of post treatment machines was ordered. In detail, it included three track tamping machines with integrated dynamic stabilisation and two ballast regulating machines. In addition to one 09-3X Dynamic and one USP 5000, Network Rail opted for two 09-2X Dynamic and one newly developed USP 6000 for works on tracks with power rail.

Operating a ballast cleaning system on tracks with an insulated third rail might not only be one of the greatest innovations but also a major challenge to be met by the HOBCS 5. As key factors in its development, the operators’ health and safety and the protection of the environment were crucial. This explains why this system is the first of its kind that aimed at providing room in the cabins for all members of the operating staff during work.

Apart from that, a dust suppression unit ensures a better working environment and reduces environmental pollution. The automation of the 44 MFS units has made it possible to keep the operating staff out of the danger zone.

Wherever possible, biodegradable oil is used on the HOBCS 5 machines. This is a further step Plasser & Theurer has taken towards sustainable machine concepts.