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Speciality and Utility Vehicles

Speciality and Utility Vehicles

Harsco Rail is committed to creating the products that keep the railway running smoothly by offering continuous improvement and effective maintenance.

Our way machines are designed to maximise performance, durability, and reliability under long-term use in various operational and environmental conditions.


A base vehicle is the heart of each maintenance train.

These vehicles, with the model name Xem 181, have four axles, two bogies and are as versatile as they are efficient. The 22,000 mm-long (over buffers) vehicles are 4,443 mm high, 2,900 mm wide and have an operating mass of 80 tonnes. The vehicles have four electrically driven, water-cooled traction motors each with a group drive in AC converter technology.

Harsco traction units run on either pure electricity (contact wire feed-in 15 KV 16 2/3 Hz) or in diesel-electricic hybrid mode. This is crucial due to the demands of the deployment situation. The vehicles can travel economically with 550 kW diesel traction even if the contact wire is switched off for maintenance reasons, for example. When the contact wire is available, the traction power is 1,080 kW.

There is sufficient tractive power available for a large attached mass, even for inclines that theoretically are as high as 50 per thousand. The base vehicles also show their strengths when it comes to gradients. Xem 181 are rated to travel steep gradients in electric mode and in diesel mode with functioning electrical brakes independently.

The hybrid technology in the drive installed in the MTU PowerPack makes this possible. It combines high tractive force via the contact wire with a consumption- and emission-optimised diesel-electric drive in partial train operation.

To conveniently enable operation in autonomous train sections, traction vehicles are equipped with automatic train coupling and a CAN bus system. This facilitates vehicle command technology that can communicate with all the components of the base vehicle, other base vehicles in the train and individual module wagons. All status and malfunction information is transmitted here, in addition to control signals for the functions of all the modules in the maintenance train.

Conversely, it is possible to remotely control the traction vehicle outside the driver’s cab from the crane cab or lifting platform, for example. This system allows precise maintenance work to be carried out under conditions with rigorous occupational protection requirements. The special feature: One person can control the entire maintenance train. Remote control is possible on the work site as well as during pulling and switching manoeuvres.

The base vehicles are not only the head units of the maintenance trains and their drive. They are also equipped with numerous functional modules that enable safe, convenient work – even under the extreme conditions in the world’s longest train tunnel. The basis vehicle also transports a combined staff-workshop module with a WC. To create optimal working conditions, the modules and the driver’s cab are air conditioned because air temperatures in the tunnel can be as high as 40 °C. This gives the maintenance staff the option to take short breaks and there is even a functional kitchen available. Of course in the event of an accident, it also contains a first aid station.

The module is equipped as a rolling workshop. In other words, simple repairs on the infrastructure and some of the maintenance work required for tunnel maintenance can be carried out in the air-conditioned wagon.