Aspiring to Continuous Development
Swietelsky Vasúttechnika Ltd. owes its market leadership to continuously improving the knowledge of its employees, upgrading its fleet of assets and applying cutting-edge technologies year after year to match Hungarian requirements and European standards. The history of the firm dates back to the 1950s, when one of the regional construction directorates of MÁV started up in Celldömölk only to transform into Mávépcell Ltd. in 1993. That operation was privatised in turn in 2000, and was sold to Swietelsky GmbH in 2006. The Austrian investor transferred to Hungary vanguard, state-of-the-art railway construction technologies, which merged with the technical expertise and the traditions Mávépcell Ltd. represented. Those were the values underpinning Swietelsky Vasúttechnika Ltd., which was established on 3 December 2008.
New Technologies in Railway Construction
Since its foundation, the company has managed to remain among the leaders in Europe through continuous improvement and the launch of new technologies. It has also ensured that these processes are applied in Hungarian railway construction projects, too. The highlights of the recent 10 years already feature the debut of SMD80 rapid track reconstruction machine in 2002 and the introduction of KRC1220, a 150-ton railway crane in 2004, which allowed the transportation of full-length sidings under OH lines. Another pivotal development included the application long machinery chains for substructure work. The company has also taken major strides of progress in recent years: for instance, the combination machine RU 800 for ballast bed cleaning and track renewal was also introduced in Hungary in 2010, which applied integrated technology to grade ballast bed and to relay tracks. Swietelsky Vasúttechnika used the combination machine PM-1000 URM for substructure improvement for the first time last year. This 270 meter long, 1000-ton mechanism can renew 40 meters of substructure to perfection in an hour while trains can use adjacent tracks without limitation. This year the company has added a UNIMAT 08-475/4S switch tamping machine to its fleet since switch structures in Hungary have reached a standard that cannot be maintained any longer with the tamping machines of the 80s and the 90s.
Development from a Training and Market Perspective
Unquestionably, Swietelsky Vasúttechnika represents the highest level of technical development in Hungary as the result of continuous innovation. You cannot hold this position unless you train employees regularly and educate the market about new options. It used to be a major problem that employees had out-dated knowledge due to the imbalances of development in railway construction; teaching of technologies was bogged down at the level of the 90s, and university graduates were unaware of cutting-edge technologies. To eliminate this problem, Swietelsky Vasúttechnika cooperates with higher education institutions. The associates of the company also participate in training, which helps future professionals acquire up-to-date knowledge in addition to providing a second line of highly trained labour for the company. As the current system of regulations stands in the way of the development of process machinery in Hungary, it is important to modernise the system and to bring it up to the European standards. Unfortunately, development is also curbed by the lack of awareness among designers and investors regarding the fundamental short- and long-term benefits of implementing new technologies, hence they are reluctant or they outright refuse to rely on new construction technologies in planning. Customer requirements play a fundamental role in determining the level of technology: when a customer is interested in reducing track obstruction to the shortest possible period, Hungary’s technological development will catch up with that of Europe. That is why Swietelsky Vasúttechnika builds and intends to carry on its traditions in organising future forums where professionals can familiarise themselves with state-of-the-art technologies and the benefits they offer and can share technical experience with each other. Luckily, we can quote a positive example in this area as well: the capital expenditure project prepared and organised so aptly by GYSEV allowed Swietelsky Vasúttechnika to start using the rapid track construction machine. The deadlines set in the tender invited for the modernisation of the Szombathely–Szentgotthárd line were so tight that it would have been impossible to meet them using traditional technology.
Key Ongoing Projects
A rapid reconstruction machine was also used to perform tasks for Swietelsky Vasúttechnika along the Tárnok–Székesfehérvár line. The reconstructed line will allow speed up to 160 km/h, which is four times the current limit. Reconstruction work started on section 42 in May 2009 and is expected to finish four months before deadline in late August with the help of modern technology. Track reconstruction coupled with the refurbishment of the stations at Martonvásár, Kápolnásnyék, Gárdony and Dinnyés, with underpasses providing unlimited access to prams and the physically handicapped. This project is also interesting as Europe’s largest combination machine, the PM 1000 was used here for substructure improvement for the first time in Hungary, along the Tárnok–Mártonvásár line. Now the machine is working along the section between Szajol and Püspökladány.
The reconstruction of the Szajol–Püspökladány line started in March 2012. Track construction is expected to be completed in October 2015 leading onto the installation of interlocking equipment by September 2016. Swietelsky Vasúttechnika Ltd. participates in this project of outstanding value in national comparison as consortium leader of the works along the Szajol–Kisújszállás section and as a consortium member between Kisújszállás and Püspökladány. Furthermore, the company provides engineering management in both projects, which is a clear recognition of its professional excellence. In total, the projects cover the reconstruction of 67.7 km of dual tracks and five stations, as well as the renewal of the full overhead system and an electric station in Karcag.
In addition to the state funded CAPEX projects, Swietelsky Vasúttechnika also receives orders from the private sector. We have been selected by the Swiss Glencore Group to construct a railway connection for their new vegetable oil operation in Foktő. We have built tracks along 6.5 km including various related structures as well as a 40 meter long steel reinforced concrete basin for drainage, to the specifications of the customer.
As the name of Vasúttechnika (Railway Engineering) Ltd. suggests, its core business is railway construction. However, this is not the only line the company pursues. Modern engineering may serve development as well as history, if necessary. The best example of this is the fact that this company is performing the reconstruction of Kőszeg Castle. Swietelsky’s associates are at work on the 14th century walls: refurbishing the façade, modernising the mechanical and electric systems of the castle, renewing internal covers and performing minor internal alterations. The company puts 21st century technology to good use during the refurbishment and the castle now boasts modern solutions: a lift is available for handicapped access and the newly built glass bridge is likely to be one of the attractions of the castle.•