VABU urges for continuation of the funding program for rail sidings

70.7 million tonnes (2016) or two thirds of rail freight transport in Austria are handled via rail sidings

VABU urges for continuation of the funding program for rail sidings

Rail sidings enable direct loading of wagons at companies’ premises, thus saving truck trips to rail terminals and costly reloading. Thus, rail sidings play a key role in achieving the policy-driven goal of shifting freight transport to rail.

At the 7th conference of rail sidings at Weichenwerk Wörth GmbH, Markus Schinko, President of the VABU Association of rail siding companies, demanded the continuation of the subsidy program until the end of the year, so the rail sidings can fulfil their function. The construction of rail sidings must remain a public interest and tailored to the needs of companies.

The support program for rail sidings is an important step towards stabilising and increasing freight volumes on the rail, as the latest data shows: from October 2014 to July 2017, 61 projects with a total value of around EUR 21.9 million were funded. Together, they represent an investment of around EUR 76.4 million. This results in an average funding rate of around 29 percent. 1,500 service journeys are completed on a daily basis, with a total of 1.56 million waggons available for 647 rail sidings.

The contractually agreed tonnage commitments of all supported projects since 2014 to the end of 2016 amount to 31.2 million tonnes. This corresponds to a saving potential of 571,517 tonnes of CO2.”The fact that the number of rail sidings in Austria has declined by about 30 percent since 2008 makes the need for action more than clear,” stressed Markus Schinko.

The qualification requirements for the railway staff were also a subject of the conference. Practical solutions and exceptions for the rail sidings were needed for the exam regulations, according to the VABU.

Since 1934, the Association of rail sidings (VABU) has been representing the interests of domestic operators of rail sidings. They organise meetings and events for their members and provide information on the latest impulses in technology, legislation and industry developments. Furthermore, the association offers free technical, commercial and legal advice for members.