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28 July 2021 | 

voestalpine Railway Systems, the global leading provider for railway infrastructure systems, hosted an one-day-digital-summit on June 29, 2021. The latest trends related to performance requirements for the railway, leading to 24/7 availability, and optimized life cycle costs were presented in two dedicated conference areas.

On June 29, 2021 international railway track professionals came together and joined our PERFORMANCE ON TRACK® SUMMIT 2021. Attendees from over 37 countries participated in our digital summit.

Next to several lectures from well-known speakers from different rail track companies, the whole voestalpine Railway System team has been on hand for virtual meetings. In our conference program, we focused on four main areas including 17 live lectures.

Take a look now at the Best-of Statements:



  • Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. tech. Peter Veit

    Speaker: Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. tech. Peter Veit (Institute of Railway Engineering and Transport Economy, Technical University of Graz)

    Life Cycle Management identifies proper components for specific track sections, elaborates a maintenance scheme and calculates the economic service life of track. However, this economic service life differs in a wide range depending on the various boundary conditions as there are traffic load, alignment, sub-soil condition, type of superstructure, to name just the most relevant ones. The costs relevant for this calculation are the depreciation and the maintenance costs. The longer the service life, the smaller the depreciation. On the other hand the maintenance costs increase in aging tracks. Taking these costs into account allows defining the minimal total costs of ownership and thus the best point in time for track renewal. This is calculated within the “Annuity Monitoring” which also enables ranking the renewal projects from a life cycle cost perspective.

  • Dr. tech. Matthias Landgraf & DI (FH), PMP Sven Schirmer

    Speaker: Dr. tech. Matthias Landgraf  (Senior Scientist, Technical University of Graz) & DI (FH), PMP Sven Schirmer (Corporate Procurement Coordinator - Rolling Stock, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG)

    Mitigating environmental impacts is one of the main challenges faced by society. This calls for an integration of ecological aspects into current methodologies of life cycle costing (LCC) to ensure sustainability from an economic and ecological point of view. Life cycle assessment (LCA) enables calculating environmental impacts of railway infrastructure and identifying potentials for mitigation within asset management. To realise this potential, the aim should be assessing environmental impacts of production, construction, operation and renewal. Austrian Federal Railways established an innovative approach integrating environmental impacts within the tendering process.

  • Assoc.Prof. Stefan Marschnig & Dipl.-Ing. Georg Neuper

    Speaker: Assoc.Prof. Stefan Marschnig (Institute of Railway Engineering and Transport Economy, Technical University of Graz) & Dipl.-Ing. Georg Neuper (Track management and Infrastructure development & Team coordinator Life-Cycle-Management, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG)

    Abstract: Financing, general track strategy, and the maintenance philosophy followed generate the boundary conditions, different infrastructure managers are operating in. Different approaches concerning the processes in inspection, data analysis and thus track monitoring, and maintenance planning hand in hand with technology used (track components and maintenance works) and the inhouse/outsourcing topic define a certain level of quality driving life cycle costs and track availability. After the scientific work-up, examples of implementation at the Austrian infrastructure manager will be discussed in the presentation. In this regard, modern inspection options, data analysis, predictive/prognostic maintenance and applied life cycle management are discussed.

  • Markus Ossberger

    Speaker: Markus Ossberger (Head of Division Infrastructure & Deputy Rail Operations Manager, Wiener Linien)

    Metro systems have to run 24/7 and can only be maintained in short night blocks. Maximum efficiency is required. With the possibilities of modern IT, the transition to an effective predictive maintenance approach in maintenance can finally be ventured. The article shows which steps have to be taken and which time frames have to be estimated. Using the example of the Vienna Underground and HSH™ Rail, it shows which benefits are expected and which changes this requires in technology and staff.



  • Univ.-Prof. Dr.techn. Ferdinand Pospischil

    Speaker: Univ.-Prof. Dr.techn. Ferdinand Pospischil (Head of Institute of Railway Infrastructure Design, Technical University of Graz)

    Simulations are gaining importance. They are quick, cheap and it is possible to get inside information (e.g. stress levels, …) within complex systems. Nevertheless they want to simulate reality. Therefore it is of the upmost importance to feed them with real input-data like stiffnesses. Not only input data is necessary, but also in track measurements to verify the findings of the simulations. In this regard information on laboratory and in-track measurements will be given with a hint on stumbling blocks on the way.

  • Dr. Florian Auer

    Speaker: Dr. Florian Auer (Director of Technology and Innovation, Plasser & Theurer)

    Creating a precise track geometry: this is one example that illustrates the use of new technologies in turnouts. 

    Sturdy, high-precision work machinery that can operate in a variety of environments and settings will continue to guide our design principles.

    The machines are equipped with additional features. 

    • Thankstomulti-sensor fusion, the machine inspects the infrastructure. 
    • Imageprocessingsystems detect and identify the machine and its surroundings: the machine surveys the infrastructure. 
    • Operatorexpertisegives way to machine learning, making the machine a robot. 
    • Web-basedtoolsassist with authorising the completion of worksites. During the final stages, the machine  gives the green light for travel on the turnout. 
  • Alfred Pölinger & Andreas Oberhauser

    Speaker: Alfred Pölinger (Senior Vice President Sales, voestalpine Signaling Austria GmbH) & Andreas Oberhauser (Head of Permanent Way, Wiener Linien)

    With increasing demands towards 24/7 operation in urban rail systems, real time monitoring of switches and crossings will become essential. 

    By understanding their domain, delivering the right sensor concepts and applying latest software and analytics capabilities it is possible to optimize the performance of turnouts while reducing overall OPEX.

    Hence, it is necessary to include intelligent sensors into these critical track assets which enable railways to not only monitor the health of switches and crossings but also adapt their treatment accordingly. In order to maintain highest quality, intervene as soon as required thus avoiding issues and, therefore, extend service lifetime. Healthcare at its best is needed - just like for humans!

  • Manfred Arndt

    Speaker: Manfred Arndt (Founder & Executive Board Advisor, voestalpine Signaling Siershahn GmbH)

    The essential target of rail is competitiveness as a means of transport, whereby its digital transformation is the appropriate way to achieve it. This is valid for all organizational processes where digital solutions represent an opportunity to increase efficiency.

    Within this context, the role of Diagnostic and Monitoring Technologies (DMT) is to ensure a high level of safety, availability and consequently, more efficient rail operations. Although there exists a well-established awareness regarding safety and availability, the efficient maintenance management of Rolling Stock is still in an early phase of development.

    However, Digital Maintenance Services (DMS) are based on exploiting data of DMT in order to achieve higher efficiency in maintenance processes. When analyzing the general trend in Europe for implementing DMS, it reveals a heterogeneous landscape developing at different speed in various European Railway Organizations.

    Technical constraints as well as organisational barriers play a substantial role when creating the future path of digital applications. The analysis of limiting factors and the creativity to overcome them become a historical challenge for the industry.

    While the implemetation process of Digital Maintenance Services for Rolling Stock copes with these barriers, one can find certain digital pacemakers among the railway industry.

    ÖBB and voestalpine Railway Systems have taken a role as forerunners in Fleet Condition Monitoring based on a modular checkpoint-concept in conjunction with combined sensor technologies.



  • Rolf Härdi

    Speaker: Rolf Härdi (Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Deutsche Bahn AG)

    Based on Deutsche Bahn’s infrastructure strategy “strong rail”, this lecture will outline an overview on DBs digital twin strategy as part of DBs digitalization initiatives. Details on current and ongoing projects, their challenges in technical setup as well as structural hurdles shall demonstrate a possible path to a digitized railway infrastructure. 

  • Mario Temmel

    Speaker: Mario Temmel (voestalpine Railway Systems)

    By using a “PLM-Product Lifecycle Management” system, we benefit from an accelerated process flow and create the prerequisite for reliable data along the product life cycle of our turnout systems. This in turn is the basis for linking our digital and physical product worlds.

  • Dr. Ivan Vidovic & Roman Bobik

    Speaker: Dr. Ivan Vidovic (Application and Data Management, voestalpine Railway Systems) & Roman Bobik (SVP R&D Digital Track Management, Boom AG)

    Our smart approach for track management provides a one-stop solution to securely store and visualise all data that arise in the assets life cycle. It is moreover the bespoke client-tailored mobile assistant for the execution and documentation of maintenance work.



  • Nikolaus Neuber & Dipl. Ing. Christian Nagl

    Speaker: Nikolaus Neuber (Managing Director - CFO, WS Service GmbH) & Dipl. Ing. Christian Nagl (Head of Line Management and Asset Development, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG)

    + 30% Turnout Availability – A successful cooperation between ÖBB and voestalpine Turnout and Track maintenance manifest the core business of most railway operators. Outsourcing is a no go for many track owners.

    Despite increasing system complexity the necessity to provide availability and reliability for the endcustomer remains as main goal of railways.

     voestalpine Railway Systems and Austrian Federal Railways have bundled strength and formed WS Service a unit, dedicated to inspect and maintain turnout systems, aiming to increase track availability, reduce down times and establish a continuous exchange process.

     WS Service and Austrian Federal Railways will present the latest approach for turnout maintenance in combination with an outlook of future innovations regarding digitalization.

  • Dipl.Ing.Dr.techn. Bernhard Knoll & DI Uwe Ossberger

    Speaker: Dipl.Ing.Dr.techn. Bernhard Knoll (Head of Superstructure Department, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG) & DI Uwe Ossberger (Vice President Research and Development Turnout, voestalpine Railway Systems)

    Ballast cleaning is currently one of the most cost intensive maintenance tasks once in the lifetime of every main line turnout. It is done with maintenance machines that remove the fine particles of crushed stones from ballast and it is necessary because tamping is no longer able to reestablish track geometry.

    Within the project Shift2Rail – funded by the European Commission in Horizon 2020 – a research group was formed between ÖBB, voestalpine, Getzner Werkstoffe and Kirchdorfer Concrete Solutions with the overall target to reduce maintenance work and life cycle costs of turnouts by optimizing the bedding and ballast load under train. For this, a whole system optimization was done: Improvements of the fixed crossing, introduction of a new rail fastening system ERL NG with variable stiffness, special turnout sleepers with improved interfaces to ballast wherever needed, self-detecting switch rails that require less inspection and 400UHC rails through the turnout with optimized RCF and wear behavior. Finally, two demonstrator turnouts were installed in 2020 at ÖBB followed by an intensive measurement and validation program to assess the improvements of the innovative turnout design.

  • Mark de Vries & Johannes Wundersamer

    Speaker: Mark de Vries (Managing Director – CEO, Track Solutions, voestalpine Railway Systems) & Johannes Wundersamer (Vice President Sales mobile Grinding & Milling, voestalpine Track Solutions Germany)

    Every metro system is playing a crucial role in keeping our urbanising world connected with the cleanest and efficient mobility. This however brings their networks under pressure of more passengers, higher tact frequencies and higher dynamic loads.


    To overcome this challenge, voestalpine Railway Systems has established unique Rail Performance Solutions to get metro systems performance on track.

In the next weeks, we will present all lectures in detail on our website and our voestalpine Railway Systems LinkedIn Channel.

If you have any specific questions in advance, please feel free to contact us!