Multimodal track ballast logistics for ÖBB Infrastruktur

Rail Cargo Group (RCG) is using multimodal logistics to transport around 40,000 tonnes by sustainable rail for ÖBB Infrastruktur SAE Regionalleitung Ost3 / Anlagen Service Center Gloggnitz.

ÖBB Infrastruktur plans, builds and operates Austria’s railway infrastructure. It plays an important role in rail passenger and freight transport with the aim of promoting efficient and sustainable transport in the country. The maintenance and development of the railway network are the core tasks of the Line Management and Asset Development Division (SAE, ÖBB INFRA). RCG is a reliable partner in this context. Every year, RCG transports around 1.3 million tonnes of track ballast, rails, machinery and sleepers for various INFRA projects and is increasingly relying on multimodal solutions. This strong partnership is particularly evident in the example of the new track construction site between Neunkirchen, Lower Austria, and Wiener Neustadt in 2022 and 2023, where RCG delivered a total of around 40,000 tonnes of track ballast using multimodal logistics.

Overcoming logistical challenges: an overview of the construction phases

Track ballast is usually delivered by truck from the ballast plant before the track surface is ballasted, as there are no rails for trains to run on at this stage. In order to meet ÖBB’s sustainability requirements, the partners carried out a trial run with a test train during the first construction phase with the main 138-kilometre section by rail and the final seven-kilometre  section to the construction site by truck. This test run was successful, and from the second construction phase, all the track ballast required was transported by rail.

Two block trains shuttled back and forth, one unloaded each working day in Wiener Neustadt and Neunkirchen and the other loaded in Ybbs an der Donau. In the first construction phase, RCG transported 1,100 tonnes by rail in an environmentally friendly manner, and around 13,000 tonnes in each of the three subsequent construction phases. To implement this logistics solution, Bernegger used 20-ft open-top containers, container stackers and trucks with tipper chassis for onward transport to the construction site.

Successful partnership and outlook

The successful partnership between ÖBB INFRA, SAE and RCG has already resulted in a follow-up order for the remodelling of the Gramatneusiedl railway station. This collaboration is a pioneering example of how sustainable railway infrastructure can be created through innovative solutions and partnership.