Special-purpose vehicles: keeping the infrastructure in good repair.

Building the infrastructure to keep pace with the growing demand for rail transportation is just the first step – because this infrastructure also needs to be maintained on a day-to-day basis. Knorr-Bremse offers a broad-based portfolio in this segment.

There are special-purpose vehicles that can inspect the track, repair overhead power lines, grind the rails or clear snow from the track. Track-laying trains put down new tracks or replace ballast, while rescue trains provide assistance in emergencies. Most special vehicles are only produced in small batches, while some are even made as bespoke one-off solutions for highly specific application scenarios. They are indispensable to the operation of rail networks, and operators count on them to deliver maximum robustness and absolute safety.


Moosacher Str. 80
80809 München
Sales Rail Vehicle Systems Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH


Take a look at our product portfolio!

Air Supply / Treatment

Air Dryer 'DrySupply Classic' & Compressor 'PistonSupply Eco'

Air supply systems supply the compressed air required by the braking system and other subsystems. Their key subsystems are screw compressors 'ScrewSupply' or oil-free compressors 'PistonSupply Eco' and often also intelligent air dryers 'DrySupply Smart'. Particularly in special-purpose vehicles, their design and performance are governed by the vehicle’s highly specific requirements.

Bogie Equipment

Bogie Equipment

The bogie equipment is the part of the braking system that generates the braking force. The portfolio for special-purpose vehicles includes wheel-mounted and axle-mounted brake discs, compact and conventional brake calipers 'WheelAct' and 'AxleAct' and electromagnetic track brakes 'MagnetAct Flex'.

Friction Technologies

Friction Technologies

Knorr-Bremse’s friction portfolio features Ultrapad sintered brake pads and Propad organic brake pads that have been specially developed for special-purpose vehicle applications.

Brake Control

Brake Control and Wheel Slide Protection
'MotionLead family'
Pantograph Control

To achieve optimum braking, the optimal braking force must be applied to each axle and bogie. In special-purpose vehicles, this function is performed by systems such as the flexible 'FlexControl Modular' and the Modular Magnetic Track Brake Control 'MagnetControl'.

Sanding Systems

Sanding System 'SandGrip Pneumatic' and 'SandGrip Mechanic'

Sanding systems can make a significant contribution to reducing braking distances. Systems for special-purpose vehicle applications comprise air supply systems, sand dosing systems, sand pipe heaters, sand level monitors, sand boxes, sand box covers and sand flow sensors.

Wiper Systems / Wash Systems

Windscreen Wiper 'VisionLead Electric' and 'VisionLead Pneumatic'

Windscreen wiper and wash systems ensure that the driver of a special-purpose vehicle always has a clear view. The systems comprise wiper drives, arms and blades, control units, operating controls, washer water tanks, washer pumps and rain sensors.

Control Systems / TCMS

Router, Vehicle Control Unit, Threat Detection Solution, Switch
Smartio®, WSP3

Train Control and Management Systems (TCMS) are the technological nerve center of special vehicles, connecting the subsystems to each other and to the central vehicle control system. They are specifically tailored to a wide range of different customer requirements and now also incorporate powerful system diagnostics tools and smart fleet management systems. The WSP3 expansion module seamlessly integrates wheel slide protection functionality with the special-purpose vehicle’s TCMS. The TDS Defense in Depth Threat Detection Solution detects cyberthreats in their early stages.

Climate Systems

HVAC System

Whatever the outside weather, the drivers of special-purpose vehicles require a comfortable on-board environment. Sophisticated and increasingly eco-friendly HVAC systems ensure that this expectation is met.

Electrical Systems

Auxiliary Power Supply

Special-purpose vehicles are becoming increasingly complex, placing greater and greater demands on their power supply systems. These are designed to ensure that all the relevant requirements are met. Knorr-Bremse generally integrates the traction equipment for special vehicles as complete, customized packages from a single source.

Power Electrics

Brake Resistor
Smart Integrated Functional Unit

Special-purpose vehicles are highly reliant on a huge array of electro-mechanical and electrical control components. Contactors, disconnectors and resistors are designed to meet each vehicle’s individual requirements. The Smart Integrated Functional Unit (SIFU) raises the bar by integrating high voltage components with a smart monitoring and control system.

Digital Solutions


Against the backdrop of globalization and urbanization, and with a view to greater energy efficiency and safety, digitization is adding new functionalities that underpin the pre-eminent role of rail transportation. And Knorr-Bremse’s digital solutions are paving the way.


Every special-purpose vehicle has its own unique profile and equally individual service requirements for the maintenance, overhaul and repair of its subsystems. A service package tailored to the customer’s specific requirements is thus nothing short of essential.