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Mobile rail milling at Wiener Linien

1 June 2022 | 

A sustainable solution to extend rail life on European metros.

Challenges for urban transport

In addition to operational challenges such as increasing train frequencies and extended operating hours, metro operators today are also committed to sustainability in several respects:

The population expects a reliable, fast and punctual means of public transport that is also low in noise and emissions. In addition, they expect the metro operator to manage the budget carefully, on the one hand to keep ticket prices affordable and on the other hand not to further increase the municipal tax burden.

In order to meet these requirements and maintain a high quality of life for local residents, metro operators are in constant international exchange with each other and in lively contact with the associated industries in order to find new, sustainable and at the same time technologically high-quality solutions.

Success Story Wiener Linien

voestalpine Railway Systems was able to build on its experience in mobile track maintenance and successfully and sustainably implement the technology of rail milling in combination with accompanying measurement and testing activities for the customer Wiener Linien:

Compared to conventional rail grinding, the burden on the environment, local residents and operating personnel is significantly reduced. Due to the modern state-of-the-art design of our MG11 milling machine, noise and pollutant emissions are minimized during operation. A high-performance extraction system for processing residues such as milling chips and steel dust ensures a clean track and good breathing air. The collected pure steel chips are recycled as a valuable secondary raw material and fed directly into the steelmaking process.

The mobile rail milling technology not only enables more material removal during just one pass for the elimination of operational rail damage, but at the same time optimizes the entire rail profile and thus the wheel-rail contact. This in turn significantly reduces vibrations and noise emissions during metro operation and minimizes maintenance investments in other superstructure components and rolling stock.

A holistic solution approach

With the accompanying pre- and post-measurements carried out in combination, important parameters such as effective material removal as well as remaining rail head height, RCF-crack elimination, transverse and longitudinal profiles are determined. These parameters subsequently essentially determine the remaining rail service life and allow a forecast for the further maintenance cycle.

Through the aforementioned combination of novel mobile rail milling technology, advanced measurement systems, and comprehensive systems understanding, voestalpine Railway Systems creates a sustainable and high-quality environment for the metro operator, its customers, the network's residents, and the environment.

The customer Wiener Linien was convinced by this holistic and sustainable solution approach during an initial deployment over 40 shifts with 100% machine operability and fulfillment of all performance parameters and is now a business partner of voestalpine Railway Systems in the form of a framework agreement over several years.

About Wiener Linien:

The subway network of the city of Vienna is operated by Wiener Linien, which is responsible for the entire public transport of this European metropolis. The network of Wiener Linien has a long history of planning and adaptation and currently consists of 5 lines with a total track length of approx. 168 km and several announced expansion stages. In addition to the archaeological features of the city and the high density of tourists, it is particularly challenging for the Vienna Underground to play a decisive role in further anchoring the title of one of the most livable cities in the world in the capital of Austria.