FRANKFURT - Germany and Austria, which share a common language and border, are moving to pool some of their railroad resources. Deutsche Bahn AG, Germany's national railroad, and its Austrian counterpart, Oesterreichischen Bundesbahnen, founded a joint venture called EuroTraction this week that will start by managing 50 locomotives pooled by the two railroads.
That equipment pool, which is expected to grow to as many as 1,500 locomotives within five years, will allow the two rail systems to contract locomotive service to one another and to third parties.OBB executives regard the new locomotive pool as one of the three main pillars in the railroad's long-term strategy to expand its rail cargo and logistics operations, and make them more profitable.
Helmut Draxler, the Austrian railroad's general director, said the other pillars of that strategy are the OBB's Spezial Waggon AG, which manages about 7,000 specialty railcars; and its logistics holding company, called Speditions Holding AG.
The logistics company, which had revenue of about $450 million last year, combines OBB's logistics activities with those of several Austria-based forwarders that OBB's cargo division had acquired.
'The interplay among these three 'pillars' will help OBB emerge as one of the winners of European railroad liberalization,' Drexler said.
OBB last month also nailed down a rail deal with the former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia that aims to speed transport of goods between central Europe and the Balkan region.
Under that deal, OBB's Rail Cargo Austria division and the Slovenian railroad, called Slovenske Zeleznice, are deepening their cooperation in rail cargo by means of a joint venture called Austrian-Slovenia Express. The new service is part of OBB's effort to expand its network in south-central Europe and the Balkans as competition mounts from the German and Swiss rail systems.
Robert Koenig can be reached at 011-41-31-352-3808.