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Automatic Clamping of the First Wagon on the Shunting Track



Today, the degree of automation in railway operations is taking on an important position concerning the quality of all shunting procedures. The performance of yards, systems, and processes has a significant result on economic efficiency for railway operators.

Hump yards are the largest and most effective shutting yards, with the largest shunting capacity, often serves several thousand wagons a day. A hump is an artificially elevated area within a shunting yard where the force of gravity is used to move single wagons or a block of coupled wagons along with a network of shutting tracks where the cars are sorted.


In Lithuania, most hump yards, besides primary retarder configurations (which allow deceleration of rolling wagons), uses manual skate hands. Hand skates are being used to prevents the first wagon movement from its position. Furthermore, the next wagons hit the composition, so the workers have to put the skate hands again because sometimes the manual devices are knocked out. This way of operating is now being considered as a too-large risk for workers and damage to infrastructure and wagons.

Moreover, automatic skate retarder solutions would increase the capacity of the hump yard and speed up the service of wagons in the yard. Lithuanian Railways are looking for a solution to be implemented in infrastructure which would help optimize hump yard procedures. The main goal is to replace manual hand skates with an automatic skate retarders system which could increase the yard’s output and decrease labor and repair cost while preventing wagons from uncontrolled leaving the shutting tracks.


Automatic braking and holding of the first wagon system shall no require for train crews to use hand skates for the rails to pull-out the consist of wagons.

Automatic skate retarder solutions shall reduce the time to get the wagons out of the tracks by the operators.

The solution shall decrease labor and repair cost and prevent wagons from uncontrolled leaving the classification track.

The automatic braking and holding system shall have be user-friendly, easily adaptable to the current system, and simple to install with little or no maintenance.

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