Rail switch

Overview & direct access to sidings

Strategic decision-making and planning, set-up and operation: this section offers an overview, explaining the three most important steps in the process.

Step 1: Strategic decision-making and planning

Fundamental decisions set the course of future business - it's important to get them right. As part of the decision-making process, we offer feasibility studies for sidings, and our siding service centre is on hand to help. The first step involved in the feasibility study involves examining key questions on the basis of the application for siding review (German).

  • What kinds of questions?

    • Connection to the ÖBB rail network or another network?
    • Which RU develops the operating concept?
    • Feasibility and profitability?
    • Funding opportunities (public funds)?
    • Responsibility for project planning, coordination and structure?
    • Employee protection regulations
    • Operating model: Self-operated or outsourced?

Logistics and business concept

Company guidelines on elements such as strategy, as well as the type and quantity of goods for transport, are relevant for planning purposes. There are a number of other points that need to be developed in collaboration with the railway undertaking seeking the siding and the railway undertaking (RU) providing it; these must be taken into account at an early stage in project planning.

  • What kinds of points?

    • The location and layout of the junction to the siding
    • The prerequisites for the siding and its impact on the wider network (technical integration)
    • Wagon equipment
    • Provision and collection
    • Are overhead lines required?
    • Transshipment facilities
    • What track facilities are required?

Application planning and ordering the junction to a siding

Two different sets of application planning documents must be prepared. The relevant municipal authority is responsible for the siding company’s facilities. Either the relevant national authority, federal state or ÖBB-Infrastruktur is responsible for the junction to the siding itself (depending on the scope of the project).

  • What can a junction to a siding contain?

    • Track construction
    • Control command and signalling equipment
    • Overhead lines
    • Power supply
    • Telecoms
    • Lighting

Application planning and construction of siding facilities is performed by the prospective siding customer or by a company contracted by the prospective customer. Following submission of the application planning documents (see application for siding review, German), including official approval, the junction to the siding is ordered as a first step in the set-up process (see request for set-up of a siding in DOC format, German) from ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG/Network Access. Application planning is carried out and the junction to the siding is constructed by ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG. Planning is coordinated in all cases with the relevant technical departments at ÖBB.

Step 2: Set-up

When construction planning is complete (see Step 1), the siding company submits an application for planning permission to the regional administrative authority. Construction can begin when planning permission has been obtained. The siding company is responsible for construction of the siding. ÖBB Infrastruktur AG builds the junction to the siding. The construction manager responsible for the project from ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG acts as a point of contact for the siding company. Both construction projects are carried out in coordination with both of the construction managers.

Step 3: Operation

Following completion of the junction to the siding, the inspection and approval process is carried out in accordance with the Austrian Railway Act §19 by a certified person listed in the Austrian Railway Act 1957 §40. Inspection and approval of the construction activities carried out during construction of the junction to the siding is initiated by the siding company. This must also be performed within the meaning of § 19 Austrian Railway Act 1957 as amended. Before the siding becomes operational, a contract governing the siding infrastructure is concluded between ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG and the siding company. The operating instructions required for operation are drafted jointly by the RU and the siding company on the basis of the operating agreement between the RU and the siding company.