Ten years of BLG RailTec in Falkenberg

Falkenberg, 09.07.2022

On its anniversary on September 9, 2021, the hub for rail-bound automobile transport represents a perfect balance between tradition and innovation.

Some places are especially closely connected with the people who live and work there. The BLG RailTec site in Falkenberg is one of them. Ten years ago, a handful of people started operations there. At the location once defined by abandoned and overgrown tracks, BLG RailTec today runs a major hub for rail-bound automobile transport as well as a state-of-the-art freight car workshop.

Falkenberg in Southern Brandenburg is linked to a long railroad tradition stretching back to 1848. Situated at a strategic point where the states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt meet, Falkenberg historically developed into an important hub for rail traffic in all directions. In 2011, BLG LOGISTICS recognized the potential of the site which had fallen into disuse after the end of the GDR. Today, mixed block trains from Eastern European automobile manufacturing plants destined for 13 different end stations travel to Falkenberg. At the facility, they are formed into single-destination trains that go to, among other places, the BLG sites of Bremerhaven, Rheinhausen, Hamburg and Cuxhaven. Every year, a total of some 300,000 cars pass through the rail hub on their journey to customers. Considerable investments were necessary: 71 points had to be replaced and 25 kilometers of track newly laid.

BLG RailTec GmbH

is a subsidiary of BLG AutoRail GmbH, which operates its own trains. As the owner of 1,500 rail cars, BLG AutoRail GmbH draws on a modern, uniform fleet of rail cars in Europe. In 2019, the company transported some 730,000 cars in eco-friendly rail transport.

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State-of-the-art freight car workshop

For rail-bound auto transport, BLG AutoRail uses its own fleet of 1,500 rail cars. Each one passes through the BLG RailTec marshalling yard multiple times per year. It was an obvious step to branch out into recurring work such as maintenance and inspection of rail cars at the site. For this purpose, a modern freight car workshop was built in 2014. Soon the news got around that BLG RailTec provides all these activities fast and highly professionally. Today, 50 percent of all jobs for the workshop come from external customers. Mobile maintenance also belongs to the range of services. A team of eleven technicians is available 24 hours a day to perform preventive and corrective maintenance throughout Europe for third-party customers.

Falkenberg also offers engineering services. RailTec GmbH has developed a rail car which can transport batteries for the assembly of electric vehicles. A world-first was the design of a rail car with two flexible loading decks. What makes it special is its suitability for use in Italy. These rail cars can be used for double-deck transport of large vehicles such as SUVs. They eliminate restrictions from smaller tunnel widths.

Moving into a sustainable future

It is well known that every kilometer of rail track actively contributes to climate protection. That is one reason why long-distance traffic is increasingly moving onto rails. Another goal is longer freight trains. The digital automated coupling plays a crucial role here. This innovation ensures faster formation of freight trains and automatically connects freight cars as well as their electricity, data and compressed-air lines. The data is transmitted directly to the locomotive. Today, train length is limited by the maximum coupling hook load.

The digital automated coupling is designed for a greater coupling hook load and, together with the electropneumatic brake (ep brake), it enables much longer trains of more than 1,000 meters.
BLG RailTec is at the forefront of these developments and is cooperating with the Technical University of Berlin during the test phase. In Europe alone, 700,000 freight cars need to be retrofitted to take advantage of this technology. Currently, the team in Falkenberg is gaining the necessary expertise.

The management team – like a large family

The management team (from left): Damian Pendzialek, Monique Schaffer, Thomas Bamberg, Mathias Gärtner.

Back in 2011, when a five-strong team restarted operations, the first orders were already on the books. They consisted exclusively of marshalling work. The old signaling system, which is still in operation today, was quickly recommissioned. BLG was unknown in the region at the time. Locals merely noticed that something was happening on the old site. Falkenberg is also a training location. Most of the people from the founding team still work in Falkenberg, sometimes accepting long commutes to do so.

BLG RailTec is an expert in rail-bound auto transport. Apart from efficient train composition, the Falkenberg site offers comprehensive rail car maintenance services. The BLG rail hub in Southern Brandenburg provides approx. 100 jobs. The employees take on responsibility and contribute their varied skills. Technical training and personal development are especially important to the management. Do you want to become part of this committed team? Find current job vacancies here.

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