Evaluating the applicability of multi-sensor equipped tamping machines for ballast condition monitoring

Stefan Offenbacher*, Bernhard Antony, Olja Barbir, Florian Auer, Matthias Landgraf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ballast is a key component of most railway tracks and fulfils crucial tasks. The strong forces induced by train operation, however, wear the stones, and in combination with external pollution the condition of the bedding gradually deteriorates. Track alignment issues arise as a consequence and these are usually corrected by use of tamping machines. The importance of a functioning ballast bed implicates the necessity for sophisticated condition monitoring. A novel approach for addressing this need is presented here. The tamping unit of a high-performance tamping machine has been equipped with multiple sensors, which measure various parameters during every tamping process. A set of recorded data is analysed and compared with the prevailing ballast condition, which is evaluated using proven methods. The results verify that the measurements correlate with the condition of the bedding, thus confirming the assumption that sensor equipped tamping units allow conclusions regarding the condition of track ballast.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108881
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Ballast condition
  • Condition monitoring
  • Railway infrastructure
  • Tamping machine
  • Tamping unit sensors
  • Track ballast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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