Excursion to England, June 2024

In June, the entire institute embarked on an excursion to England. We took the ICE train from Frankfurt to Strasbourg, where we stayed for a night. The next day, we had the pleasure of travelling to Paris on the famous TGV at over 300 km/h – imagining a more pleasant way to travel is hard! In Paris, we changed to the Eurostar to travel through the Eurotunnel to London at a similar speed.

On our first day in London, we visited the Siemens maintenance depot for the Thameslink vehicles. This gave us interesting insights into the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle fleet supporting public transportation in Greater London. After a brief sightseeing tour in London, we had a meeting with Voestalpine, where we gained interesting insights into their work on the HS2 project regarding BIM solutions and challenges. In the evening, we watched the painful defeat of the well-performing Austrians against France at the European Championships.

The HS2 project was also our focus on the second day in London. We learned a lot about the project and were able to see the progress of the tunnel construction sites at London Euston Station. Additionally, we were given deep insights into the complex processes of this mega-construction site at the logistics centre and had the opportunity to talk to experts.

A day later, we took a train northward, specifically to Huddersfield. There, we exchanged ideas with the Institute of Railway Research at the University of Huddersfield about our research and projects. We also had the opportunity to see the institute's impressive laboratory.

The following day also included an exchange with another university: At the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, we gained insight into the institute's work on railway research. It was particularly exciting to discuss the economically-focused perspectives of the University of Leeds with our technical background.

After this exciting meeting, we continued to York, an impressive city that boasts many attractions, including a railway museum. This museum showcases many historical as well as modern locomotives and carriages. A visit is definitely recommended.

Our supposedly final train journey took us to Manchester. From there, we were supposed to fly back to Graz. Unfortunately, a power outage at the airport thwarted our plans. So, we took yet another train, this time to Birmingham. We didn't arrive in Graz until the next day, as we missed our connection in Frankfurt due to a delay. Perhaps taking the train for the return journey would have been better.

At this point, we would like to once again extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved!

Excursion Infrastructure SS24, May 2024

Also this year, the students of the course "Excursion Infrastructure SS24" received fascinating insights into construction sites and facilities in the fields of railways, road engineering, and urban water management during the two-day excursion. Ms. Dösinger and Mr. File (Voest Donawitz) introduced us to the fascinating "world of steel," where we were able to visit the blast furnace and the rolling mill, among other things. Mr. Brenner (Porr) gave us insights into the development of the Vienna city road, which serves as a connection between Seestadt and the Südosttangente. Mr. Werderitsch (Vienna Water) showed us the expanded elevated tank at Wiener Schafberg, which will secure the drinking water supply for Hernals, Ottakring, and Währing in the future. A rare opportunity was provided by Mr. Friedl (Swietelsky) with a visit to the construction site of the U2xU5 subway junction in the heart of Vienna at Rathausplatz. Mr. Lehmann (Wien Kanal) informed us about the renaturation and improvement of flood protection of the Liesingbach. We were also invited to a delicious lunch - many thanks. Mr. Eckel (City of Vienna, MA28: Road Administration and Road Construction) guided us through Argentinierstraße, which has been partially converted into a bicycle street and promenade, becoming one of Vienna's most important cycling connections.

A big thank you goes to all the companies involved, especially the aforementioned ladies and gentlemen, who made this educational excursion possible.

49th Conference on “Modern Rolling Stock” - Call for Papers

From 13th - 15th April 2025, the 49th Conference on “Modern Rolling Stock” will take place at Messe Graz. Are you interested in participating with a conference contribution? You can submit a proposal until 31th May 2024. More information on the homepage

2nd place at the 37th USI indoor football tournament for employees

On 07.02.2024, the 37th indoor football tournament for employees took place. As in the previous year, we were represented with a strong team together with other institutes of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and were once again able to secure second place. A detailed report on the excellent performance can be found on the homepage of the Institute of Highway Engineering and Transport Planning.

2nd ÖVG Conference on turnouts in Innsbruck, November 2023

In November 2023, ÖVG and Schuster + Schuster hosted the 2nd Conference on turnouts in Innsbruck. Five employees of the institute responded to the call and attended together at the Congress Innsbruck. After registering, they had the opportunity to hold expert discussions with colleagues from all over Austria and beyond during a second breakfast. After the welcome, the first block started with three interesting presentations on the topics of "Sustainability, Noise & Emissions". During the excellent lunch that followed, all participants were able to recharge their batteries for the afternoon and then attend four more presentations full of energy. In the topic block "Holistic optimization approaches", research on the various components of a turnout was presented. There was a break with coffee and cake to keep everyone's attention during the last block. Markus Loidolt from EBW also had the opportunity to give one of three presentations in the last topic block "Cross-component condition description". At the end of the official part of the conference, Stefan Marschnig gave a short summary. Of course, food and drinks were then provided one last time before a very successful day came to a pleasant end in the city.

„Montan- und Werksbahnmuseum“ in the Schlossberg of Graz, Oktober 2023

After the 18th RCRS meeting on 11 October 2023, the participants had the opportunity to visit the "Montan- und Werksbahnmuseum" in Graz - we were there too!

Two passionate railway museum operators gave us a 2-hour guided tour through the tunnels of the museum! Both, the impressive rail infrastructure and the nostalgic and "experienced" locomotives from all over the world amazed us! About 300 m track (of the total 2.1 km) are covered by a catenary system. The track system also includes 57 turnouts and three special turnouts (three-way turnout in the picture above right, multiple turnout below right). More than 60 different locomotives and about 200 underground wagons are located inside of Schlossberg.

Summing up, we had an exciting guided tour! Many thanks to “Montan- und Werksbahnmuseum”.

Ursula Ehrhart

WWG Open Day for Customers in Wörth, Oktober 2023

On October 5, I had the pleasure of presenting my research on turnout asset management at the WWG Customer Day in Wörth. Weichenwerk Wörth GmbH is a full-range supplier in turnout construction and offers products and services over the entire turnout product life cycle. At the event, in addition to input presentations and personal exchange, there was also the opportunity to visit the turnout manufacturing facility - which impressed me very much. The facility is clearly a success story! As a thank-you for my presentation, I received a sample of the Weichenbock, for which I would like to say a heartfelt thank-you. The taste was just as convincing as the event. Thank you for the invitation.

Markus Loidolt

Track measurements in Übelstein, Oktober 2023

Normally, we use data already available from the measuring car, but for some questions this is not sufficient. At the beginning of October, I was therefore in Übelstein together with Roman Weilguny (BST) to measure the exact geometry of welding joints. Thanks to the work of the RID, one track was closed and we didn't have to worry about approaching trains (although one is automatically wary after the first train has passed 1 meter away on the adjacent track...). By chance, we also saw a few skid marks, which of course had to be documented immediately.

Markus Loidolt

48th Conference "Modern Rolling Stock" in Graz, September 2023

From September 17-19, the Institute welcomed numerous guests to the now 48th Conference "Modern Rolling Stock" in Graz. To start off, there was again the evening event in the Schlossberg restaurant, including a view over the city. Despite a large attendance, all visitors could be provided with sufficient drinks and delicious food. Lively discussions and a wonderful atmosphere made this a successful evening.

With some opening words the official part of the conference was started in the Graz Exhibition Centre. Immediately afterwards, the first contributions started. Within the blocks of freight transport, powertrains and braking systems there were interesting presentations on various topics which led to short but also longer discussions. At the end of the day, there was a panel discussion in which the vision of a new, cross-faculty master's degree in railroad engineering at Graz University of Technology was presented. Three professors and a dean of the Graz University of Technology discussed and answered questions from the audience. Apart from the lectures, there was the possibility to inform oneself about innovations in the field of railway vehicles at the booths of the exhibiting companies. Refreshments during the day were provided by tasty snacks in the morning, an excellent lunch and a delicious pastry buffet in the afternoon. At the concluding evening event, which also took place at the Graz Exhibition Center, there was also wonderful food and drink and the opportunity for further exchanges.

On the next day, the presentations were no less interesting, and so the topics of wheel-rail contact, testing & approvals, and components continued in an exciting way. Again, discussions were held and opinions exchanged after each presentation. During the breaks, the discussions and conversations continued, with the same excellent culinary provision as the day before. After the last lecture, there were closing remarks, which brought the 48th Conference "Modern Rolling Stock" to a close.

From April 13th-15th 2025, the 49th edition of the Conference will again be held at the Graz Exhibition Centre.

IHHA Conference – Rio de Janeiro, August 2023

The twelfth conference of the International Heavy Haul Association IHHA was held in Rio de Janeiro in late August (https://ihhario2023.com/, https://ihha.net/). Representatives of heavy haul railroads, the involved industry as well as universities from all over the world met to discuss relevant topics and to exchange ideas among each other. Peter Veit, Stefan Marschnig and I were each able to contribute with a presentation and subsequent discussion. For me, it was particularly gratifying to see the international standing of Austria in the rail industry. This was reflected both by the high number of Austrian participants (many of them as speakers) and by the strong presence of domestic companies.

Afterwards, I used the opportunity to combine business trips with private stays to enjoy Rio a few days longer. This included a visit to the statue of Christ, a trip to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, and wonderful hours on the amazing beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. I was also able to get to know the other side of Rio, away from the beautiful ideal world, during a tour through Rio's largest favela (Favela Rocinha).

Stefan Offenbacher

48th Conference "Modern Rolling Stock" - Graz, September 2023

As an established European meeting place for railway vehicle manufacturers and operators as well as researchers, the "Modern Rolling Stock" conference will be held for the 48th time from 17-19 September 2023.

In addition to an exciting programme on topics such as digitalisation in freight transport, innovative drive and braking systems as well as wheel/rail interaction, parallel product exhibitions will take place, which will sensibly complement the presentations.

We therefore cordially invite you to join us at Messe Graz in mid-September and exchange ideas with international experts from industry and research! Further information on registration and the conference app is available here.

Networking event of the Young ÖVG in Graz

At the beginning of August, the Young ÖVG organized a network event at the central station in Graz, where, in addition to participants from all over Austria, a few of us were also present. First on the agenda was a workshop on the topic of "Inspiring young people for the mobility industry". In the course of this workshop, exciting topics were worked out and discussed together. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to take a closer look behind the scenes at Graz Central Station. We took a look at the dispatching control centre and the quick repair hall and visited the workshop. Probably the highlight of the afternoon for many was the ride on a Vectron. Some of us had the opportunity to take a seat in the driver's cabin and drive the locomotive for a few meters. At the following dinner, there was once again the opportunity to talk to and network with each other.

Pre-Measuring for Tamping, Juli 2023

In order for tamping machines to be able to precisely align the height and position of the track during construction and maintenance, the current position of the track panel must be precisely measured and the deviation from the target position determined. At OeBB, this is done as standard with the "EM-SAT" measuring vehicle. The current track geometry is determined by a laser-based procedure in combination with reference measurements to measuring bolts on the overhead line poles. Correction values are calculated on the machine, and these are used as input for the tamping machine. During a measurement campaign on the Rudolfsbahn in the Wald am Schoberpass-Kalwang area, I was able to accompany the measurement team and learn a lot about this measurement system and the work in practice.

Stefan Offenbacher

Excursion to Plasser & Theurer to Linz

Together with the Institute of Railway Infrastructure Design and the Institute of Structural Durability and Railway Technology we had the great opportunity to go on an excursion to Plasser & Theurer at the beginning of July. After a late arrival in Linz, we were warmly welcomed, and a short presentation allowed us to learn more about the history and activities of the company. The following lunch strengthened us for the guided tour through the factory in the afternoon. During the tour, we were able to follow step by step how the track-laying machines are produced. The journey home to Graz was finally completed without delay.

Unimat 09-8x4-4S BR-Dynamic E³, June 2023

At the end of June, I was able to accompany a tamping machine of the latest generation during a night shift on the western line in the area of Redl-Zipf station. The "Unimat 09-8x4-4S BR-Dynamic E³", presented at the International Exhibition for Track Technology (iaf) 2022, combines the work steps levelling-lifting-lining-tamping, dynamic track stabilization and ballast management in a single machine and can process both tracks and switches. In addition, the machine is equipped with the latest measuring systems which, among other things, record valuable information about the condition of the tamping section. The analysis of this new type of measurement data is being carried out to a large extent at our institute as part of a research cooperation.

Stefan Offenbacher

Institute excursion to the Austrian open-air museum - Stübing, May 2023

In May 2023, the entire institute made an excursion to the Austrian open-air museum in Stübing. During an excellent guided tour through the museum, we learned many interesting details about the historical buildings, which show the everyday life of the farming population of the past. The exhibited objects come from the provinces as well as from South Tyrol and we could look at them from the outside as well as from the inside. We ended the afternoon with a snack together in the local inn.

24th International Meeting of the Working Group Railway Engineering - Salzburg, May 2023

The ÖVG Working Group Railway Technology (Track) will hold its 24th International Congress in May 2023. This time, possibilities for increasing capacity and availability will be presented and discussed in the three thematic blocks Technology, Efficiency and Environment. Reports of examples including experiences from the practical implementation of projects from all over the world will complement the scientific findings. All presentations will be simultaneously translated into several languages.

In addition, we offer young professionals the opportunity to present their current work in a separate block.

Furthermore, a demonstration at Salzburg's main train station will provide an overview of the latest technologies for increasing efficiency while taking environmental aspects into account.

Research project „In2Track3“ – Kristianstad, November 2022

In the course of the EU-funded research project "In2Track3" , I accompanied two night-time track maintenance works near Kristianstad, Sweden.

A tamping machine equipped with the latest technology was used, which can independently measure the absolute track geometry and calculate corresponding correction values for the exact positioning of the track panel. In addition, highly sensitive sensors on the tamping units record comprehensive data, which we subsequently analyse at the institute. This gives us exciting insights into the prevailing ballast condition and the achieved ballast compaction, which provides the basis for optimising planning and executing tamping works.

Stefan Offenbacher

Intelligent Rail Summit – Konstanz, November 2022

At the Intelligent Rail Summit in Konstanz (Germany), I did not only get the opportunity to give the participants an insight into the research project "Long-term behaviour of padded concrete sleepers on reduced ballast bed thickness", but also used the summit for deeper discussions and to network with experts from various European countries.

Ursula Ehrhart

Transport Research Arena - Lisbon, November 2022

In November 2022, I was able to gain insights into research on all transport systems (rail, road, air, waterborne) at the Transport Research Arena in Lisbon.

With more than 2000 participants and numerous exhibitors, there were numerous opportunities for networking. Highlights can be seen on YouTube, my personal highlight was probably the third place in the TRA VISIONS Young Researcher (and the city of Lisbon). Details to my project and the great projects of my competitors can be found here.

Markus Loidolt

Tamping Operation Wolhusen – Wolhusen, October 2022

In the course of a joint research project with Plasser & Theurer, ÖBB and SBB, I accompanied a night-time tamping operation at Wolhusen station. The target track geometry was restored in the station and the adjacent turnouts. New types of sensors on the machine measured various parameters, which we subsequently analysed and which should provide us with insights into the condition of the ballast bed and the quality of the tamping work. This will provide the basis for optimized track maintenance.

Stefan Offenbacher

The Fifth International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance – Montpellier, August 2022

A beautiful city, sunshine, delicious food, a load of railway content and several inspiring conversations. This is how I would describe my days in Montpellier and my attendance at "The Fifth International Conference on Railway Technology: Research, Development and Maintenance".

With my talk about the condition assessment of insulated rail joints I was also able to contribute one piece of content. Thanks for the organisation of the event!

Markus Loidolt

Project Assessment SBB – Bern, August 2022

Longstanding cooperation with the Swiss Federal Railways repeatedly leads to exciting and also instructive excursions to our Swiss neighbours. In August, Matthias and I were able to show the SBB's asset management team ways of deriving the need for track renewal from measurement data of the track recording vehicle. We first analysed the data at SBB HQ and then inspected conspicuous areas on site, thus establishing a link between measurement data and reality.

Stefan Offenbacher

13th World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR) – Birmingham, June 2022

The WCRR is considered the largest research congress in the rail sector. Participants from universities, railroads and industry were able to present their current research on a wide range of specialist areas and network with each other in Birmingham. Matthias Landgraf presented a research project on the decarbonization of track construction vehicles, while I was able to talk about intelligent tamping machines and the possibility of using them to record the condition of the tracks.

Stefan Offenbacher

21st Nordic Seminar on Railway Technology – Tampere, June 2022

Quality over quantity - the Nordic Seminar on Railway Technology impresses less by the number of participants than by the quality of the presentations. We from EBW - Stefan M. ("Long Term Effects of Reduced Track Tamping Works"), Markus ("Evaluating turnouts using post-positioned measuring car data including the rail surface signal") and I ("Ballast condition assessment via tamping machine measurements") - were also able to contribute to the success of the event. The long evenings after the sessions (only after midnight did it become somewhat dark) were an excellent opportunity for a relaxed exchange with other conference participants.

Stefan Offenbacher

29th International Exhibition for Track Technology (iaf) – Münster, May 2022

A fixed point for all those involved in the construction and maintenance of railroad infrastructure is the regularly held International Exhibition for Track Technology (iaf). On the exhibition grounds, we (the entire EBW team) were able to experience innovations in the field of track construction from 140 exhibitors, ranging from further developments in track components and new types of hand tools to the latest track construction machines. The exhibition was also an excellent opportunity for personal exchange with colleagues from the industry, whether during technical discussions or at an evening get-together.

Stefan Offenbacher