Scientific research, such as the FFF study mentioned before, serves as a basis for strategic decision-making. Since 2013, Plasser & Theurer has been exploring the development and use of alternative drive concepts in track maintenance.
The first machines with hybrid drives were completed as early as 2015. A tamping machine and a ballast distributing and profiling machine were designed to work with both a conventional diesel engine and an electric motor. Both these machines use electricity from the overhead line. These developments paved the way for fully electrical solutions that are designed without diesel engines.
The social and political transition towards more sustainability is also affecting the transport sector. Not only does it boost the entire railway ecosystem, it also encourages Plasser & Theurer to continue investing heavily in new technologies. Every year, the company allocates 11 % of its revenue towards research and development. Replacing combustion engines with alternative drive concepts plays an important role in this context.
The positive market resonance speaks for this approach. Around the globe, the demand for low-emission track maintenance solutions is rising. We currently see that they are particularly popular in Europe: an order from Austrian Federal Railways for more than 50 track maintenance vehicles with an innovative electro-hybrid drive is the latest example.