What’s it like to try out a tamping machine simulator?
Well, on September 15th was the big day: Tag der Schiene, or Day of Tracks! Like many railroad construction companies, the Deutsche Bahn, parts manufacturers, maintenance halls, and other railroad academies, mommy’s training facility also celebrated this day around the railroad. And what could be more enticing to the public than to try out a tamping simulator? Check out how Lyons Cub spent this exciting day…
This was not a railroad construction fair for business people and big companies, but for the broad public and railroad aficionados. Anybody could come, and children were welcome, too; moreover, mommy’s company had listened to her advice to set up a Thomas the Tank Engine bouncy castle in the backyard for the little ones to enjoy while the big ones were busy learning about tamping and hydraulics.
Before the guests checked in at 3 p.m., Leander received his private tamping instruction by one of our awesome assistant trainers, who taught him that the right pedal was the gas pedal to move the tamping machine forward, and the left pedal was the tamping pedal to sink the tines into the ground to compact the ballast. The seat could be moved forward, but still, his legs were too short to sit down while tamping. Lyons Cub tried his best to temp like a pro! He killed a few sleepers in the process, but luckily, it was just virtual 😉
So why is tamping necessary at all? The tamper makes sure that the tracks are well maintained, in order for trains to travel safely. Sufficient quantities of ballast must be distributed evenly across the entire track section to restore the ideal track position. The tracks must be straightened, lifted, and leveled. All this is possible with a tamping machine! At least two people ride on it, the front cabin operator and the tamper. The front cabin operator measures the tracks and finds the faults that need to be tamped, and the tamper does that work then. Below, you can see Lyons Cub sitting on the front cabin operator’s seat in our other simulator, which is housed in a container. In those containers, our simulators can go on trips where they are needed, to Japan, Australia, the U.S., and other parts of the world, wherever tamping courses are requested.
And here, Lyons Cub is in the tamper’s seat in the container:
(Those green things that look like apples are hydraulics tanks.)
About 80% of the force in tamping machines is hydraulic, which means liquid fuel power is used to drive the construction machines. Let’s take a view at mommy’s company’s hydraulic racks that are used for instruction. They can be used in basic hydraulic courses to teach about pressures and valves, as well as for more advanced maintenance courses to find faults and leaks and propose solutions.
The hydraulics trainer made sure Lyons Cub wore the correct protective gear (PPE) — safety shoes, goggles, and a safety jacket, so no hydraulic oil could splash on him and nothing could fall on his feet and hurt him. He looked almost like Harry Potter in blue, but he was very proud to give the impression of a professional hydraulics junior teacher 🙂
After having learned how to tamp in a simulator, our guests were escorted by one of our trainers (or by me) either by shuttle service or on foot to the neighboring maintenance hall, where we all climbed a real tamping machine to get a good idea about the whole thing:
Right now, Lyons Cub’s biggest wish is to work in mommy’s company when he’s grown up (last year, he still wanted to become a “gummy bear taster”). Well, no pressure… we’ll see what life has in store for him! After all this instruction and hard listening, Lyons Cub got to enjoy a barbecue with mommy’s colleagues and the service technicians from next door. The Day of Tracks had been very successful, and we’re already looking forward to Tag der Schiene on September 22-24 in 2024!