This machine was designed by Matisa Industrielle SA of Lausanne, Switzerland.
For well over a century, packing of track ballast was undertaken by large gangs of labourers, working with jacks, picks and shovels. In the 1950s, the Swiss firm Matisa Industrielle SA designed a machine that could imitate the action of hand tools and automate the process. These machines were self propelled, and had tamping heads and tools which could be lowered into the ballast to vibrate and compact it under the rails. Mechanised tamping greatly reduced the manual effort required to maintain the railway to a good "top", and also shortened the time required for newly laid track to consolidate under traffic.
This machine was built in Britain, possibly at the Matisa factory at Chertsey, Surrey, or elsewhere under licence. It was bought by British Railways in 1957, and spent all its working life in Scotland. It was acquired for preservation in 1972 having been superseded by newer machines that could also realign the track before tamping it.
It was used at Bo'ness between 1979 and 1983 to consolidate the Bo'ness & Kinneil railway track during construction of the line. However its high noise levels, and the extent of unguarded moving parts, caused it to taken out of service and laid aside for preservation. It is awaiting general repair to enable it to be put on public display.