The versatility and quick set-up of the Railvac™ allows Railroads to utilize the machine for multiple track maintenance practices including cribbing/undercutting mainline mud spots, installing drain tiles and culverts, and undercutting switches and diamonds.  The machine is able to fit into restricted clearances, allowing Railroads to use the machine in tunnels and bridges.


RAILVAC™ is a unique excavation machine that conveys material through vacuum and airflow. The machine is rail mounted and designed to travel at track speeds while towing up to four fully loaded ballast cars. The combination of a powerful digging arm with twin engines and vacuum pumps makes it capable of excavating compacted ballast, clay, mud, water, sand, and soil. The digging arm can work at distances up to 15 feet from track centerline.

Material is extracted through the suction hose and deposited in the main hopper. The finer dust then runs through a filtration system, removing the dust from the air stream. The filter elements are cleaned automatically by the air counterflow during the routine unloading of the system. A rear swing conveyor, or optional side dumping doors unload material.



RAILVAC™ excavation applications include:

  • Cribbing and undercutting mainline mud spots
  • Removing fouled ballast and debris from tunnels
  • Cleaning and installing drain tiles and culverts
  • Cross trenching for cables and pipes
  • Removing ballast from bridge decks and grade crossings without removing ties or rail
  • Undercutting switches and diamonds
  • Excavating contaminated materials from yards and stations
  • Yard cleaning and reconstruction
  • Locating and excavating cables without damage