Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on. Rolling stock in railway transport systems generally has lower frictional resistance when compared with highway vehicles and the passenger and freight cars can be coupled into longer trains.
Railway transport is capable of high levels of passenger and cargo utilization and energy efficiency, but is often less flexible and more capital-intensive than highway transport is, when lower traffic levels are considered.
A ballast tamper or tamping machine is a machine used to pack or tamp the track ballast under railway tracks to make the tracks more durable.
More modern machines, sometimes known as a tamper-liner or tamping and lining machine also correct the alignment of the rails to make them parallel and level.
A ballast regulator is a piece of equipment used to shape and distribute the track ballast (gravel) that supports the ties in railway tracks. They are often used in conjunction with ballast tampers when maintaining track.
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – “from a place”, ablative of locus, “place” plus Medieval Latin motivus, “causing motion”, and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine.
A railway locomotive intended for hauling freight trains between terminals.
A switcher or shunter (Great Britain/Australia) is a small railroad locomotive intended not for moving trains over long distances but rather for assembling trains ready for a freight/road locomotive to take over, disassembling a train that has been brought in, and generally moving railroad cars around. The typical switcher is optimised for its job, being relatively low-powered but with a high starting tractive effort for getting heavy cars rolling quickly. Switchers are geared to produce high torque but are restricted to low top speeds and have small diameter driving wheels.
A road switcher is a type of railroad locomotive used for delivering or picking up cars outside of a railroad yard. Since the road switcher must work some distance away from a yard, it needs to be able to operate at road speeds, it must also have high-visibility while it is switching, and it must have the ability to run in both directions. For these reasons, road switchers are generally hood units.
A railroad slug is an accessory to diesel-electric locomotives. It has trucks with traction motors but is unable to move about under its own power, as it does not contain a prime mover to produce electricity. Instead, it is connected to a locomotive which provides current to operate the traction motors.
Basic principles of a slug is to increase adhesive weight, allowing full horsepower to be applied at a lower speed, thus allowing a higher maximum tractive effort. They are often used in low-speed operations such as switching operations in yards.