Hulk machine

GERMANY: DB Bahnbau Gruppe named its latest track maintenance machine ‘Hulk’ at a joint ceremony with supplier Plasser & Theurer in the outdoor arena at InnoTrans on September 20.

The 09-4×4/4S Dynamic E3 is a continuous action universal hybrid tamper and dynamic stabiliser ordered in 2019; Plasser had unveiled its first hybrid track machine in 2015. The machine is equipped for use on plain line or turnouts and has an expected lifespan of at least 30 years.

CEO of DB Bahnbau Gruppe Markus Egerer highlighted the machine’s environmental benefits. Its quiet electric drive would be beneficial for both lineside residents and for maintenance staff, he said, adding that during a visit he had made to see a similar machine operating in Switzerland there was more noise from a nearby road than from the tamper.


Johannes-Max Theurer, CEO of Plasser & Theurer, noted that this was the 57th machine supplied to DB Bahnbau Gruppe and DB’s first with a full electric drive. It offered a 20 dB(A) reduction in noise levels compared with conventional tampers, as well as a saving in running costs of €170/h. An option for DB to purchase a second machine of the same type is available until 2026.

The electrically powered tamping unit has 16 tines and the 215 tonne machine has a maximum axleload of 20 tonnes. The dynamic stabiliser is also electrically driven. While the machine would normally be powered from DB’s 15 kV 16·7 Hz overhead line, it is also equipped with a diesel power pack meeting Euro Stage V standards for use when the overhead power is unavailable.

Maximum speed when moving between worksites is 100 km/h, whether towed or operating in self-propelled mode. Wear-free electric braking uses resistors or feeds power back into the supply. Control is via a SmartALC automatic guiding computer with a DRP electronic data recording processor.

The machine can operate with a trailer incorporating a 5 m3 ballast hopper, a sweeping unit and a dust-arresting atomiser.

Plasser & Theurer has so far supplied 15 similar machines to various companies, including four that are now operating in Italy.