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Issue 4 2013



The Swiss traffic transfer policy gains ground

1 August 2013 | By Peter Füglistaler, Director of the Federal Office of Transport (FOT), Switzerland

One of the principal aims of Swiss transport policy is to transfer transalpine freight traffic from road to rail. This is why Switzerland has built the new flat-bed rail tunnels through the Alps and introduced a road charge for heavy goods vehicles. In order to further support this development, the…


Gotthard and Ceneri base tunnels on target

1 August 2013 | By Renzo Simoni, CEO, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd

Work on the Gotthard and Ceneri base tunnels is on course. In the Gotthard Base Tunnel between Erstfeld and Sedrun, the ballastless railway track has been laid in both tubes. In total, 45% of the railway infrastructure systems have been installed. A pilot operation between Faido and the south portal…


Tailored timetabling at SBB

1 August 2013 | By Helga Labermeier, Scientific Specialist, Timetable Planning Department, SBB Infrastructure

The Swiss are world champions of rail travel. Every day, approximately 10,000 trains travel on Switzerland’s standard-gauge network which covers just over 3,665km. They take almost a million people to their destinations – safely and punctually – and transport 200,000 tonnes of freight. These impressive figures are unequalled anywhere else…


ÖBB – shaping mobility of the future

1 August 2013 | By Klaus Garstenauer, Head of Local and Regional Train Services, ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG

In early-2013, the Supervisory Board of ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG and ÖBB-Holding AG concluded an order worth approximately €581 million for 100 new Siemens Desiro ML mass transit and regional trains. The new trainsets will contribute significantly to improving passenger comfort and prove that ÖBB is committed to enhancing its offering. The…


WESTbahn shakes up Austrian market

1 August 2013 | By Erich Forster, CEO, WESTbahn Management GmbH

WESTbahn Management GmbH is a private railway company that launched operations in December 2011 offering passenger services between Vienna, Salzburg and Freilassing. We are the first private long-distance railway company in Austria, offering almost hourly intervals. Due to a top speed of 200km/h, the journey time of WESTbahn trains from…


Construction, maintenance and upgrading of tracks: the Austrian way

1 August 2013 | By Michael Walter, Bernhard Knoll and Jürgen Stern, Business Unit Integrated Railroad Line Management, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG

The liberalisation of European railways, particularly the free network access of passenger and freight traffic, have a basic influence on the construction of new lines and the maintenance and upgrading of tracks of ÖBBInfrastruktur AG. This article outlines the essential characteristics of track systems including track substructure. Line layout and…


Rail steel grades in track

1 August 2013 | By Peter Veit, Head of the Institute for Railway Engineering and Transport Economy, Graz University of Technology, Austria

Since 2002, track strategies at the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) have been based on life-cycle cost calculations1. These basic strategies have been adopted due to new technologies – for example the use of under sleeper pads, changing price levels, and the phenomena of rail contact fatigue2 (RCF). The basic data…


Healthy tracks mean healthy operations

1 August 2013 | By Michele Mario Elia, CEO, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI)

Railway diagnostics – in other words a set of activities used to detect the ‘health conditions’ of rail infrastructure – is today an irreplaceable tool to optimise the maintenance of railway networks. It is a crucial area for railway network providers because it guarantees operating safety, prevents failures and directs…


Network Rail’s operating strategy

1 August 2013 | By Ian Chapman, Programme Manager (Change), Network Rail

Network Rail is embarking on a process that will revolutionise signalling in Britain and allow it to run more trains, more punctually and more efficiently than ever before. The company has mapped out where and how it will run the network of the future, and this has been driven by…