Relations. Contacts. Business intelligence. There are several reasons why Railcare keeps coming back to Elmia Nordic Rail. Ahead of the next fair in October 2023, the company is focusing on sustainability – with the battery-powered MPVe maintenance machine as the crowning glory.
The first time Elmia Nordic Rail was held, Railcare attended as visitors. Two years later they were back as exhibitors, and since then they have returned to Jönköping for every Nordic Rail fair. Over the years, progress has made it possible to meet in more digital ways – making the face-to-face meeting even more important.
“Relevant trade fairs are where we can make relevant contacts and see how we’re doing on the market. Meeting face to face is essential so we can compare ourselves to colleagues in the industry. Attending fairs goes without saying for us, it’s an investment that always pays. If you’re not visible, you don’t exist,” says Ulf Marklund, Deputy CEO of Railcare Group AB.
He was one of the founders of Railcare in 1992, and since then the company has grown to encompass several business areas in Scandinavia and the UK. These include contracting with proprietary machines, culvert repairs, special transport and machine sales.
“Generally speaking, on the contracting side and also in machine development, we’re constantly looking for new solutions so that we can help meet customers’ challenges. That’s the heart of what we do,” says Marklund.
Railcare works in several business segments in Scandinavia and the UK. The main business in Sweden is contracting, such as track replacement, snow clearing and culvert renovation.“We identify the customer’s problem and try to find a solution together,” says Ulf Marklund.
Sustainability in focus with battery-powered MPVe
As with society in general, a lot of development in the railway industry today is about sustainability and digitalisation. Railcare has been focusing actively on these areas for several years, and in October 2020 the company revealed its battery-powered maintenance machine, the MPVe Multi Purpose Vehicle.
The following year, Railcare started using the machine as a battery-powered complement to e.g. vacuum cleaners, snow melters and towing vehicles. A new version is now under development – with an overhead charging system.
“There has been huge interest in the battery-powered MPV. We know that many more manufacturers are in the starting gate – but we left the starting gate quite a while ago. We don’t know of anyone else that has built a railway maintenance machine of this size that runs purely on battery. The MPV is the cornerstone of our sustainability work, and we have told the market we will reduce our emissions by 40 per cent before 2025,” says Marklund.
Even with several months to go before Elmia Nordic Rail, Marklund promises that sustainability – with the battery-powered MPV at the forefront – will be a major focus for Railcare at the fair. The company’s initiatives also include rental of five new locomotives with stage 5 engines and ETCS equipment.
“Sustainability is constantly on our minds, both when it comes to Transport and Contracting. And when you work with sustainability, digitalisation is a natural part of the package. At Elmia Nordic Rail, we’ll be showing this by bringing a battery pack from our MPVe, for example,” says Marklund.
Railcare has developed everything from the first vacuum machine and the world’s first snow melter, to today’s first and biggest 100% battery-powered maintenance machine. One profile product is the Railvac, specially designed for working in areas that are inaccessible to regular excavators.“As well as building them for ourselves, we’ve also sold about 50 around the world,” says Ulf Marklund.
An energising fair
When Elmia Nordic Rail opens its doors again in October 2023, it will be almost 30 years since Marklund and Railcare visited the first ever fair.
“It was an amazing fair from the word go, and at the time there was nothing else like it for the railway sector. For the first time, people in the industry could build on the relations that started out on the tracks. We could meet under informal conditions and also show off our new stuff,” he says.
Today, Elmia Nordic Rail is the biggest fair in the Nordics devoted specifically to the railway, and business and networking are still very much in focus. But Marklund highlights another important aspect of the fair: the opportunity to see all the latest developments in the industry.
“Our people who take part in the fair are energised by being here and seeing all the latest technical gadgets. So for us it’s not only about showcasing Railcare; it’s also about learning what our colleagues in the industry are doing. It’s our barometer for the Nordic railway industry.”
Head office: Skelleftehamn, Sweden.
No. of employees: Approx. 150
Turnover: Approx. SEK 440 million
Line of work: Track maintenance with proprietary machines, engine workshops, project and special transportation, machine sales. Contracted railway work in Sweden with own personnel and proprietary machines, e.g. replacing track and other railway maintenance. The latest maintenance machine developed by Railcare is the 100% battery-powered Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPVe).