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• HHSB treatment generally lasts at least twice as long as manual tamping.

• HHSB is suitable for use upon bad ballast conditions.

• HHSB obviates potential 'white finger' problems of hand-held vibrating equipment.

• HHSB can be applied from a single sleeper side or end - enabling adequate track packing to be achieved, despite sleepers, being obstructed by signalling equipment, interlacing with other sleepers' etc.

• HHSB does not damage ballast to the same extent as conventional compaction methods (e.g. tamping).

• HHSB equipment is lightweight and portable, with many other applications possible for its compressor.

• HHSB is particularly suited to S & C layouts - especially those complicated layouts unsuitable for conventional maintenance by tampers.


HHSB was still fairly labour intensive and comparatively slow and therefore the process languished. However, after many months of testing and development, Factair Ltd, in conjunction with Amec Rail has modified both the equipment and its application methods to a stage, whereby, it is a commercially attractive and practical system. A lightweight compressor is utilised and results in a system that is truly portable and a great advance over previous HHSB methods.

Factair's HHSB is particularly applicable to S & C maintenance, especially around switch toes and crossing areas, i.e. the very areas that S & C tampers cannot satisfactorily maintain.

By using several sets of equipment, it is also feasible to treat complicated/interlaced S & C layouts that, again, are unsuited to maintenance by S & C tamper.


The adjustable handle is designed to allow the operative to stand normally without stooping, which reduces fatigue and enhances output. A guarded hand-operated valve controls the supply of air to the delivery hopper. Ballast is hand-fed into the hopper and immediately delivered to the void beneath the sleeper. Compressed air at 7 bar is supplied via a heavy- duty air hose with safety connections to compressor and lance. The compressor is powered by a reliable and fuel-efficient, single cylinder, Honda engines with integral fuel tank and hose basket. A remote engine stop with auto retracting cable is supplied for the lookout. The sound level is less than 80dBa. The total weight of the compressor in working order is 120kg, this lightweight, combined with a well-balanced frame, makes the unit easily manoeuvrable by one man. The large cross section tyre distributes the weight of the machine and allows it to be pushed along the ballast surface with ease.

The compressor can be fitted with optional airline lubricator to allow other pneumatic tools to be used from this power source. Diesel powered units are also available.