Matisa Tamper No. RP73/72

South Australian Railways

Broad Gauge


Class operators                                                   South Australian Railways

Condition                                                             Excellent

Entered service September                                1950

Entered the museum                                          23.7.1976

Length (over coupling points)                            15’ 0’’ (4.57m)

Number in class                                                  3

Ownership                                                          History Trust of South Australia

Provenance                                                        South Australian Railways

Withdrawn                                                          March 1976


Early in 1949 the South Australian Railways became interested in automatic tamping machines, which compact the stone ballast under the sleepers of the track automatically by vibration with horizontal compression through tamping tools. At this stage the Commonwealth Railways had placed an order for one standard-gauge tamper and the Victorian Railways had ordered two broad-gauge tampers.

In mid-1949 an order was placed upon the Matisa Equipment Co., London, (agents for Materiel Industriel SA, Lausanne, Switzerland) for a broad-gauge tamper which was constructed in England and placed in service in September 1950. Compared with the manual methods then in use for compacting ballast, considerable savings in manpower were envisaged. This tamper had a diesel engine for propulsion of the unit and for powering the air compressor which supplied air for the vertical reciprocation of the 16 tamping tools, while the vibratory and packing movements of the tamping tools were by means of chain drives. The tamper was fitted with a Leyland diesel engine of approximately 70 horsepower capacity and had four forward and four reverse speeds up to a maximum speed of 25 mph (40.23km/h)

Two further similar tampers were ordered in April 1950 and placed in service early in 1952. The first tamper was known as Gang Tamper No. 1 and No. RP796, while the other two tampers were Gang Tamper No. 2 (No. RP797) and Gang Tamper No. 3 (No. RP798). No. RP797 was later converted to 3’6’’ gauge and used on the Port Lincoln Division.

After nearly 20 years of service, mainly on main lines north and south of Adelaide, No. RP796 was retired in June 1970 but was reinstated in October 1972 and renumbered RP73/72 (after some repairs) for tamping rail joints only in the metropolitan area (as opposed to its former use for tamping of main line running track). It was finally retired in March 1976.

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South Australia  5015
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The National Railway Museum acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country. We aim to respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.

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