The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting the rehabilitation of railway tracks with a loan of EUR 50m. The EU bank is providing the Austrian company Swietelsky Baugesellschaft mbH funds from the “InnovFin” budget, a joint financing programme of the EIB and the European Commission focusing on the promotion of research and development activities (R&D) in Europe.
Swietelsky is seeking to develop new systems to rehabilitate and maintain tracks on standard and high-speed railway sections more rapidly and at lower costs. This will enhance the operability and the overall efficiency of the networks. In addition, the R&D programme is aimed at further reducing downtime on railways due to maintenance. The research project also encompasses the construction of two prototypes for special rail maintenance equipment. The maintenance of railway tracks is a key factor in determining maximum permissible train speeds and axle loads. Swietelsky will carry out the work in its research centre in Fischamend near Vienna.
EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer stressed the importance of the project’s contribution to rapid and integrated railway transport. Moreover, substantial manufacturing activities and therefore positive effects on employment were expected. “The railway sector is a core component of European infrastructure policy. This creates an even greater need for reliable and safe tracks, which are vital for smooth and environmentally-friendly rail transport. Swietelsky is a company operating in this area, whose comprehensive expertise in rail track construction, rehabilitation and maintenance reaches far beyond Austria’s borders. It will meet expectations as regards innovation and know-how and will also make a significant contribution to Europe’s industrial and technological competitiveness”, said Wilhelm Molterer at the signing of the contract.
“With the loan from the European Investment Bank, Swietelsky will further consolidate its leading position in the development and application of innovative railway track systems”, commented Swietelsky’s CFO Adolf Scheuchenpflug. “This cooperation with the European Investment Bank is also a great acknowledgement of our company’s achievements”.
The Swietelsky R&D project will be supported by “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators”, “InnovFin Large Projects”, with financial backing from the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments. InnovFin is a new range of EIB Group (EIB and European Investment Fund) products designed to facilitate access to finance for innovative businesses. The “InnovFin Large Projects” product has been developed specifically to improve access to risk capital for research and innovation projects in the EU.