LOCMASTA: new innovative hub for locomotive maintenance in Central Europe
As the demand for container trains is steadily growing in Central Europe, railway undertakings are trying to keep up with the customer requirements. The process includes many elements: investments in new rolling stock, terminal capacities, digital solutions and many others. Three Austrian companies decided to construct a new state-of-art hub for locomotive maintenance. It is LOCMASTA in the vicinity of Vienna that will technically support the rail freight operators, whose trains cross Austria, including those running on the Baltic-Adriatic corridor.
Another important piece of the rail freight puzzle in Central Europe will be put into operation later this year. It is about the LOCMASTA workshop, whose name is abbreviated from the Locomotive Maintenance Station. Since Austria and Vienna particularly is situated strategically at the intersection of international rail freight corridors, more and more locomotives cross this area every day. This results in an increased demand for new maintenance facilities to secure the maximum availability of the locomotives.
Therefore, three Austrian railway undertakings ÖBB-Technische Services (ÖBB TS), LTE Logistics & Transport Europe (LTE) and European Locomotive Leasing (ELL) joined forces to construct a new maintenance facility at the Gramatneusiedl station, around 20 kilometres south-east from Vienna. Peneder, the Austrian contractor, commenced the construction works in October 2020. Currently, the project is at the final stage. What kind of services will the workshop offer?
Focus on multisystem locomotives
The LOCMASTA project consists of two parts: a maintenance hall with an area of 1,300 square metres and other related locations with an area of 575 square metres including offices, kitchen, training rooms, etc. According to Christoph Katzensteiner, ELL’s CEO, the new facility will be mainly focused on the maintenance of the multi-system locomotives that are widely used by rail freight operators for cross-border connections in Central Europe. Meanwhile, single-system vehicles are also welcome at the hall. Initially, the LOCMASTA workshop will serve two types of locomotives developed by Siemens Mobility: EuroSprinter, which is nicknamed in Austria as Taurus, and Vectron. “In the long term, the range of services will also be expanded to include Bombardier TRAXX locomotives,” said Thomas Kollnig, the commercial manager of the project.
Moreover, the new maintenance facility will be equipped with an innovative order management system, provided by Boom Software, the Austrian IT company. Safety and quality are among the top priorities for the three partners. As a result, the LOCMASTA workshop will be certified according to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 at the start of regular operations. The next big milestone is the acquisition of the ECM 4 certificate. This process started in January 2022 and will last for one year.
Promising joint venture
The LOCMASTA workshop will be operated by ETL Lokservice, a joint venture of the three mentioned undertakings ÖBB TS (a rolling stock maintenance specialist), LTE (a rail freight operator) and ELL (a locomotive lessor). Such a combination of the participants creates favourable conditions for cooperation and synergy. “That is why the joint venture finally turned out to be so promising: On the one hand the operator, LTE-group with its own respectable vehicle fleet and own traffic. Secondly, ÖBB TS is added as a high-quality specialised maintenance partner, and with us, the ELL, we have the third in the group, which has a large fleet with state-of-the-art locomotives, which can also initially provide the basic volume to optimally fill the loco garages,” added Christoph Katzensteiner from European Locomotive Leasing.