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Sustainable: travel well with voestalpine

Sustainable: travel well with voestalpine

Trains are the most ecological way to travel. When it comes to sustainability and emissions avoidance, no other method of transport can surpass the railways. voestalpine companies offer premium products and services to railway operators worldwide.

ICE express train during the journey on a double-track line
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Vacation to Venice? For a one-way trip from the voestalpine site in Linz to the lagoon city, the ÖBB ticket provides the following information: “Your CO2 savings: 116.1 kg”. CO2 emissions are avoided with every kilometer of railway travel, making the railways the clear winner when it comes to the sustainable transport of both passengers and goods.

Travel by rail — save emissions.

The Austrian Federal Environment Agency has calculated the environmental savings for every kilometer of domestic railway travel:

  • almost 200 g CO2-equivalent per person traveling (compared to a car powered by a conventional combustion engine);
  • around 84 g CO2-equivalent for each transported ton of freight (compared to road transport/diesel)

With its Rail Technology, Turnout Technology, and Signaling profit centers, as well as its Track Solutions Competence Center, the voestalpine Railway Systems Group ensures that railway services always have the operational technology they need. And with their global footprint, the Group supplies the premium rails, turnout structures, signaling technology for infrastructure and rolling stock, and services needed for the provision of reliable railway services.

Upgrading rail networks.

Rail connections generate sustainability benefits—a fact that is reflected in the upgrading and expansion of railway systems worldwide. The African Union’s highly ambitious Master Plan 2033, for example, envisages 19 trans-Africa rail routes with a total length of almost 17,000 km. In some African countries, voestalpine technology is being used in the construction and expansion of national networks. One example is the Ghana Railway Co, whose Eastern Railway Line Project is beginning to transform the West African state’s railway infrastructure into a modern railway network.

  • Turnout drives & signaling technology for Ghana

Back in 2018, voestalpine companies presented their services at the 1st Austrian Railway Seminar in Accra, the capital of Ghana. One of those companies was voestalpine SIGNALING Sainerholz GmbH.

We presented our range of services five years ago and now have the chance to provide them in Ghana. We supply the consortium in charge of the construction work with turnout drives and signaling technology, and equip the signaling boxes.

Holger P.
voestalpine Signaling Sainerholz GmbH
Portrait photo Holger P., Holger P., Managing Director, voestalpine Signaling Sainerholz GmbH
Holger P., Managing Director, voestalpine Signaling Sainerholz GmbH

The century-old line from Accra to Kumasi is currently being upgraded from a one-meter track to the wider standard track, increasing its permissible axle load by more than 80%. “This makes it much more attractive to switch freight traffic from the road to the railway,” confirms Holger P. “Our modern control and safety technology is ensuring that it is safe to increase the permissible speed for passenger and freight traffic, from 56 km/h to 120 km/h and 100 km/h respectively.”

Control technology container from the voestalpine Railway Systems Group placed next to a Railway in Africa.
Control technology from the voestalpine Railway Systems Group in action in Africa.

Fully wired railway.

The reliability of railroad tracks depends heavily on their superstructure. This includes the ballast, the rails, and especially the sleepers. For decades, railroad companies have been increasingly replacing traditional wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers; the German railway operator (DB) already estimates that 81% of the sleepers in its network are now made of concrete. Modern prestressed concrete sleepers also contain a voestalpine product: prestressed steel wire.

  • Tension and sustainability: wire from voestalpine Wire for prestressed concrete sleepers

A stable superstructure is a prerequisite for safe railway traffic. More and more railway operators are increasingly relying on prestressed concrete sleepers, especially on higher priority lines. These durable and low-maintenance concrete heavyweights are found where high speeds of over 200 km/h or higher axle loads place heavy stress on the tracks—and they contain wire from voestalpine Wire GmbH.

The demand for prestressed steel wire to produce prestressed concrete sleepers is constantly growing, especially in the high-performance railway infrastructure sector. By producing this product, we are helping to ensure that railway tracks are reliable and safe.

Holger W.
ales & Application Engineering, voestalpine Wire GmbH
Portrait photo Holger W., Sales & Application Engineering, voestalpine Wire GmbH.
Sales & Application Engineering, voestalpine Wire GmbH.

Wire performs the same function in sleepers as in larger prestressed concrete elements, such as those used in bridge construction. Prestressed concrete elements have the advantage of being able to absorb higher tensile stresses, allowing prestressed concrete sleepers to achieve a service life of up to 45 years.

Stacked prestressing steel wires for prestressed concrete sleepers
Prestressed steel wires for prestressed concrete sleepers
Steel turnout concrete sleeper on track ballast material
Concrete sleeper turnout

Prestressed concrete sleepers, including special designs for turnouts, are produced by voestalpine Railway Systems subsidiaries in North America and Europe including

No networks without turnouts.

One thing is certain: without turnouts there would be no complex railway systems. It is the ability to switch from one track to another that makes large-scale, flexible networks possible. For a turnout to function properly, it needs more than a thousand individual parts. These parts must be manufactured with precision and their interaction accurately monitored, a challenge that voestalpine Railway Systems GmbH meets with a high degree of reliability.

  • Reliable connections: turnouts from the voestalpine Railway Systems Group.

Wind and weather, maximum loads, and high speeds: turnout drives and locking devices must withstand the toughest operating conditions. They need to work reliably under all conditions in order to ensure track availability—the cornerstone of railway traffic.

The turnouts that voestalpine Railway Systems manufactures for customers all over the world can be equipped with a comprehensive diagnostic system. This system uses up to 20 parameters to monitor whether the turnouts are functioning correctly, and facilitates highly efficient, predictive maintenance. This is implemented with the help of digital track management software solutions developed in-house. Our vision is that every turnout that leaves the plant from 2025 onwards will be a smart turnout. We are therefore strengthening our data analysis capabilities and expanding our hardware and software portfolio for asset management and infrastructure monitoring.

Johannes K.
Managing Director, voestalpine Signaling Austria GmbH—CEO Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologies for Infrastructure
Portrait Foto Johannes K., Managing Director voestalpine Signaling Austria GmbH – CEO Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologies for Infrastructure
Johannes K., Managing Director voestalpine Signaling Austria GmbH – CEO Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologies for Infrastructure

An “onboard ECG” provides helpful functions for voestalpine Railway Systems turnouts. It extends planned maintenance intervals when functions are intact, ensuring continuous track availability; in the event of early signs of a fault, precise monitoring ensures timely troubleshooting without unforeseen track closures. The production of modern turnouts at voestalpine has also been thought through in terms of sustainability. “The production and working life of our turnouts generates one-third fewer CO2 emissions than the industry standard,” says Christian A., an employee in System Solutions Development at voestalpine Railways Systems GmbH, emphasizing the additional sustainability effect of the turnouts from the Austrian site in Zeltweg.

Our focus on sustainability

For decades, voestalpine has been the environmental and efficiency benchmark for the industry. We focus on sustainability out of conviction, not because it is the trend. We provide information on which sustainability criteria and standards we follow, on how we are continuously improving our carbon footprint, and about the innovative, sustainable products and solutions we develop for our customers in order to make the world a little better.

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Die voestalpine ist ein weltweit führender Stahl- und Technologiekonzern mit kombinierter Werkstoff- und Verarbeitungskompetenz. Die global tätige Unternehmensgruppe verfügt über rund 500 Konzerngesellschaften und -standorte in mehr als 50 Ländern auf allen fünf Kontinenten. Sie notiert seit 1995 an der Wiener Börse. Mit ihren Premium-Produkt- und Systemlösungen zählt sie zu den führenden Partnern der Automobil- und Hausgeräteindustrie sowie der Luftfahrt- und Öl- & Gasindustrie und ist darüber hinaus Weltmarktführer bei Bahninfrastruktursystemen, bei Werkzeugstahl und Spezialprofilen. Die voestalpine bekennt sich zu den globalen Klimazielen und verfolgt mit greentec steel einen klaren Plan zur Dekarbonisierung der Stahlproduktion.