Pit stop for freight wagons to maintain the wheelsets

02. 09. 2019

As Rail Cargo connects European urban areas and ports to prospering economic centres in Russia, Turkey and to China. Equalling transport of 113 million tons of goods per year.

This means that freight wagons are always perfectly maintained. And this is where the professionals of ÖBB-Technical Services come in. 

Our more than 18,000 freight wagons are in the best hands at ÖBB Technical Services. While trucks must be fully serviced every year, freight wagons are made from a different type of steel.

It is only after six years that we hear the words: Going to the workshop. By that time, they have already travelled up to 900,000 kilometers. Then it’s up to us. Once they have arrived at the workshop, there is no stone left unturned. All safety-critical parts are carefully examined.

Drive, brakes, buffer or towing and shock devices are upgraded, completely reworked and tested stringently. At the same time, the TS technicians also take care of the various structures, such as sliding walls, partition walls or covers.

Up to three weeks of fresh cure in the TS workshops.

Keeping the wheels turning

The axles of the wagons play a decisive role. When it comes to maintaining the wheelsets, the TS workshop in Knittelfeld is one of the best in all of Europe.

Around 20 million euros are currently invested in state-of-the-art technologies and further automation. The latest jewel in the crown are the fully automatic wheel-set lathes. Not only do they give wheelsets an exact profile, but they also cover the complete axle geometry; for the first time, an all-round comparison between the stub axle and the tread. Up to 20,000 wheel sets per year pass through these facilities.

Another highlight is the fully automatic wheel set press, which can press wheel and brake disks from both sides. The enormous forces involved can only be guessed at.

Seemingly effortlessly, it presses the heavy wheel discs with a force of more than one ton. After the two discs have been inserted into the machine, a special lubricant is applied onto the wheel disc drilling.

Not too much, just enough that the disk can be pressed onto the shaft well. The rest is then fully automatic. In just a few minutes the work is over and a finished wheelset rolls off the machine.