A tie crane or tie handler, is a piece of rail transport maintenance of way equipment used to move and handle the railroad ties (sleepers) used in rail tracks using track relaying. The machines are used as an alternative to the manual labour once used.
Mounted on a lightweight chassis with rail wheels, the operators cab and lifting arm pivot on a base, enabling 360 degree rotation. The end of the lifting arm has a gripper for picking up sleepers, and a movable wrist to allow the tie to be positioned. Often a small trolley is connected to the tie crane by a drawbar, for either storage of new sleepers to be placed into the track, or for taking away old sleepers that have been removed.
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