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Vienna tests new tramway grinding technology

The new design of Plasser & Theurer tramway rail grinder on test in Wien (Vienna). Image courtesy of Plasser & Theurer

Wiener Linien is piloting an Automatic Track Machine Oscillator (ATMO) tramway rail grinder, developed by Plasser & Theurer as part of the EU-funded Shift2Rail research programme.

ATMO is the result of a market study by Technische Universität Wien, with Plasser & Theurer responsible for design and manufacture. Hauled by a power car or road-rail vehicle, the ATMO trailer is controlled from the traction unit and combines conventional whetstone grinding with oscillating grinding with two saddles each featuring two stones per rail head. The four-axle trailer can travel on curves as tight as 16.25m and work on curves down to 17.25m, with the grinding stones aligned so they are always positioned above the rail head.

Unlike conventional grinders, there is no need to lift the stones when passing over turnouts and crossings, and a 2800-litre water tank for wet grinding improves output and prevents sparks.

Shift2Rail is a public-private partnership in the rail sector, established in 2014 to provide a platform for co-ordinating research activities, to which
the EU has contributed more than EUR150m.