Railway Surfaces: Market-Investments-Maintenance

The first KZN “Bieżanów” Group Conference: “Railway Surfaces. Market-Investments-Maintenance” (“Nawierzchnie szynowe. Rynek-Inwestycje-Utrzymanie”), was held on 22nd and 23rd March 2018 at the Hotel “STOK” Conference Centre in Wisła. The event, organized in cooperation with the Polish Chamber of Products and Services Manufacturers for Railway, was a creative extension of the conference cycle entitled “Railways in Areas of Mining Damage” (“Kolej na obszarach szkód górniczych”) held in previous years under the auspices of Trade-Port – a daughter company of the Kraków holding company.

The conference, which the Railway Transport Office (Urząd Transportu Kolejowego), Railway Institute (Instytut Kolejnictwa), Central Mining Institute (Główny Instytut Górnictwa) and the Silesian Voivodeship assumed content-related patronage of, focused on various aspects of the rail surface – one of the most important factors in safe and efficient rail traffic operation. Modern surface components installed during the investment process using technologies that maintain their high initial quality, as well as subsequent maintenance of the surface and tracks in full operational condition, ensure comfort and safety – which is why it is so important to hold industry meetings on this subject. This message was, among others, included in the introductory speech by Adam Musiał, General Director of the Chamber.

Representatives of the Management Board of the KZN Bieżanów Group – Rafał Leszczyński, the CEO, and Sławomir Bijak, Member of the Board – then took the floor. Both emphasized the importance of content-related and technical dialogue within the railway infrastructure industry, especially now, during the “investment fever” related to the implementation of the National Railway Program. They also pointed out the new, more integrated formula of the Kraków holding company’s operations on the railway market. This thought was creatively presented in a longer presentation by Mr. Leszczynski, emphasizing that consolidation is a response to market challenges and allows the KZN Bieżanów Group to provide the best possible service for investment processes related to the rail surface.

“The core values which have guided us in building and developing our organization are: comprehensiveness, safety, quality and innovation.” said Rafał Leszczyński. “That is why we base our production on our own technologies, defined over many months of development and research works carried out in cooperation with research and certification centres. For years, our business model has been based on building stable partnerships with clients. The credibility of the KZN Bieżanów brand means no exaggerated promises – keeping both our word and deadlines – and customer support and assistance in solving potential problems.” said the Krakow holding company’s CEO.

Next, Ryszard Sokołowski from Nasycalnie Podkładów in Czeremcha took the floor, presenting the current requirements concerning the wooden elements of the railway surface, as well as some concerns in this matter. In particular, he pointed out the necessity of using sleepers and turnout sleepers made from hard beechwood as a perfect substitute for oak. Magdalena Kamińska of Kolejowe Zakłady Nawierzchniowe “Bieżanów” discussed trends and standards regarding materials and structures used in railway turnouts. Grzegorz Leszczyński, the CEO of KZN Rail, focused on transporting railway turnouts in sections, particularly in terms of using the Switcher technology, of which KZN Rail is the operator.

After a short break, the specifics of technology relating to plastic sleepers and turnout sleepers, among others, were presented to conference participants by Artur Wróblewski, Sales Director of Vossloh Fastening Systems for Eastern Europe. Iwona Karasiewicz, Administrative and Economic Specialist at the Railway Institute, gave a lecture on risk analysis of the rail surface. And finally, but by no means the least important, representatives of scientific centres took the floor: the Higher Technical School in Katowice (Associate Prof. Kazimierz Kłosek, PhD. Eng., talked about anthropogenic materials in the surface and subgrade) and the Silesian University of Technology (Ryszard Walentyński, PhD. Eng., Head of the Department of Mechanics and Bridges, demonstrated the suitability of the Wolfram Mathematica software for the railway industry).

Panels on specific themes at the conference enabled the exchange of experiences and presentation of solutions dedicated to railway infrastructure, especially the rail surface, maintaining the infrastructure in the best possible condition, reducing degradation by means of innovative solutions, as well as presenting scientific and technical achievements.

When the content-related part finished, the KZN Bieżanów Group ceremony began, during which enterprises and institutions that significantly support the Group were honoured. Strategic Partner statuettes were awarded to the following companies: Wytwórnia Podkładów Strunobetonowych STRUNBET, Pomorskie Przedsiębiorstwo Mechaniczno-Torowe, Przedsiębiorstwo Napraw i Utrzymania Infrastruktury Kolejowej w Krakowie, PORR and BUDIMEX.