The track cars are railway vehicles for maintenance of railways . Although they are very few known to the general public, they have an important role in industrial heritage.


Information of interest

  • Vehicle Type: Light Rail
  • Inventor: Karl Christian Ludwig Drais von Sauerbronn
  • Year:  1817

What is dresin?

The dresine is a light railway vehicle, driven by one person and conditioned to transport personnel or materials for the maintenance of railway facilities. They can be seen with small wagons that allow the transfer of material and necessary tools to the work. This transport is also known as the rail fox or the rail fox .

  • History of the dresine
  • Drain features
  • Uses of drains
  • Types of dresin
  • Manuals
  • By way
  • Electrification or airline

History of the dresine

This vehicle was invented in 1817 by the German-born baron Karl Christian Ludwig Drais von Sauerbronn , who called it a walking machine.

Drais, straddling a wooden beam with two wheels, covered 14 kilometers in an hour, pushing with the help of his feet on the ground.

This invention was patented in 1818 under the name “Eisenbahnfahrrad” which means “railway bicycle”. Later, its name changed to dresina in honor of its inventor.

It was the first two-wheeled transport and years later gave rise to the bicycle. When this device takes a third wheel on two rails it begins to form part of the railway vocabulary .

Drain features

  • Today, modern trucks are equipped with relatively powerful diesel engines. They have a platform for the transport of material and can be equipped with handling cranes or elevators for the maintenance of the catenaries.
  • Depending on the model, the transmission can be hydromechanical or hydrostatic , with the option of smooth running.
  • The most modernized ones have a large towing capacity that allows them to tow wagons and platforms.
  • Modern drags have seats for several people including the mechanical driver.
  • They have an open platform for the transfer of materials and tools that can reach a weight of up to 1500 kilograms in some models.

Uses of drains

It could be said that in principle, the dresine is generally, destined for the transfer of people, luggage or animals or destined to services related to the railway operation.

More specifically, the use of the drawer is very important, especially on construction sites . The smallest factor of disturbance can impact the railway operation or the good development of a work: vegetation, snow or grass interfering with the track, small fixing defects at the level of the catenary poles. Drawers make it possible to alleviate these situations quickly and in total safety.

In this sense, thanks to the dresine, it is possible to better conserve and renovate the train tracks by correcting defects that may put them at risk. They are thus used to carry out inspections or repairs.

On the other hand, for some years, the resins also have a recreational use in several old railroads that have not been used in countries such as Germany, Sweden, Norway, Poland, France and some other European countries and in South Korea. These are generally set in motion thanks to pedals.

Similarly, in history , the military use of drains is known, which particularly concerns armored drains. They were used for exploration, patrolling and other auxiliary tasks that usually belonged to combat trains.

This type of vehicle was used in Russia during the First World War . Also, different types of dresins were used during World War II , at the beginning of the invasion of Poland carried out by the Nazis. Similarly, prior to World War II, drains such as the Sumida M.2593 were used extensively by the Japanese in Manchuria and in the Sino Japanese War.

Types of dresin

A great variety of resin models are known, manufactured according to the needs of the work to be carried out.


Manual skids were generally light vehicles, so one or two people can easily use and propel them. In its beginnings, the manual mechanisms of the dresine varied from one model to another, ranging from manual levers, pedals to platforms with 4 wheels.

Its use gradually disappeared with the emergence of motorized vehicles that used a new form of traction.

By way

In general , they are small vehicles, self-propelled thanks to a diesel engine. They also have a cabin to transport personnel to the work area and a platform used to carry materials and tools. Usually, these trucks have an arm for loading and unloading tasks .

Electrification or airline

These are also self-propelled by a diesel engine and have the particularity of having a tower that allows easy access to the overhead line (catenary).

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