In 2011, a joint Network Rail (High Speed) and SB Rail initiative led to the modification of a Plasser & Theurer 08-16/4x4C-RT tamper for shortwave ‘Sprinter’ tamping.
The modifications included mechanical changes to the tamping system to allow independent geometry corrections to be applied to each rail and installation of the WinALC Spinter software.
A series of trails were conducted in early 2012 allowing operators and technical staff to build up experience and improve working processes. The results were positive and this led to packages of work being undertaken periodically in six shift blocks thereafter.
Sprinter is the ideal tool for dealing with isolated shortwave faults and eliminates manual handling and vibration issues associated with manual methods such as measured shovel packing. The other significant advantage is the consistent and predictable standard of repair which isn’t guaranteed with manual fault rectification.
Unnecessarily tamping longer sections of track in order to rectify isolated defects shortens ballast life and so worsens the whole life cost of the asset. Sprinter offers maintainers a cost-effective solution to rectifying isolated faults without having to disturb compliant track sections.
An example of this are reverse curve transitions on HS1, which can be upwards of 500 metres in length. Prior to using Sprinter this meant tamping the entire length of the transition in order to correct a localised fault, which is neither cost effective nor the right action considering the design life of the asset.