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Four brand new transport units ready for use

9 December 2022 | 

At voestalpine Track Solutions Duisburg GmbH, we have invested heavily in new rail logistics wagons to add four long rail transport units (TE) to our current fleet of ten. These new TEs can flexibly transport short and ultra-long rails to construction sites (120 m per TE and up to 360 m when three TEs are coupled together). Currently, a maximum of 180 m long rails are transported to construction sites in Germany, while ultra-long rails of up to 360 m are transported in neighboring countries.

Through our many years of close cooperation with our sister company in the Netherlands, we have already carried out many extensive rail logistics projects together. As voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands B.V. has both a large wagon fleet and ECM certification acquired in 2013, the company has a lot of experience in the field of certification requirements. This also applies to the practical side, such as wagon construction, maintenance and repair. This exchange of knowledge allows us to expand our portfolio in an ideal way and serve the European market even better.

Higher demand for rail transport units

The German rail infrastructure market needs more rail transport units as the number of projects across the country increases. Although a significant number of rail transport units are already in operation, availability remains a challenge. The number of construction projects is increasing, while track availability requirements are steadily increasing, i.e., track closures for construction activities are decreasing. To overcome the bottleneck, it was decided to build new rail transport units that can deliver ultra-long rails directly to the construction site from voestalpine Track Solutions' two locations in Duisburg and Königsborn.

The new design of the PDs has also been modified to make them compatible with all unloading equipment of all Central European infrastructure operators. As a result, these four new TEs are immediately available and ready for use in all Central European markets.

This fits in well with our other rail services for infrastructure operators, such as just-in-time rail logistics to the construction site, stationary flash-butt welding and milling, the manufacture of insulating joints and transition joints, the production of fitting rails, and end-of-life rail reconditioning.

From design to implementation

The design took place in the middle of the Corona crisis, which meant that classic on-site meetings about the design of the wagons and the modules of the rail transport units could not take place. This was a tricky task, as the modules of the rail transport units on the wagons and in rail transport are subject to very specific requirements and/or regulations, with alignment between wagons and the new modular superstructures having to be accurate down to the millimeter. Manager Rail Logistics & Rail Equipment René Harkema of voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands:


"For this, a company must have the right knowledge and a lot of experience. In very close contact with the manufacturer Robel, we managed to successfully develop and implement a design."



We then organized the transport of the modules and the wagons to Hilversum. At the Crailoo industrial estate, the entire assembly of the modules was carried out together with employees from Robel and voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands.  


"Of course, challenges arise in this process, but our knowledge of approvals, regulations and ISO standards enabled us to solve them all within the tight project timeframe," says René.

Through knowledge and skills again a pleasant cooperation

The whole project was characterized by European cooperation, as companies and employees from five countries (Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia and Bulgaria) were involved. In the team, everyone contributed their knowledge and skills in the best possible way, which made the project team successful. The cooperation does not stop after this first rail transport unit has been built. Before this unit is even allowed to run, it has to be approved by railroad authorities. And the 2.5 km industrial area in Hilversum is also perfectly suited for this, in terms of length, space and also the right combination of track curves and switches for the driving tests. As the loading and unloading of rail transport units is part of the daily work both in the factory and on the construction site, the functional tests could be carried out simultaneously.

In the meantime, the rail transport units have been inspected by a Notified Body in accordance with the CE standard. voestalpine Track Solutions Netherlands will remain involved as the ECM (Entity in Charge) holder in terms of maintenance and servicing over the next few years. In this way, we can make optimum use of our extensive fleet of wagons, on which rails of up to 360 m can be transported, in the German market and are also available for further requirements in neighboring European countries.

Would you like to learn more about our Track Solutions? Please contact Ralf Ziegler or Rene Harkema.