CLINTON — When RAIL.ONE Group breaks ground on a new factory here later this year, it will mark the German manufacturer’s entrance into the U.S. market.

Headquartered in Neumarkt, Germany, the company plans to build a production facility in the Lincolnway Industrial Rail and Air Park. The plans were announced by community leaders March 8.

In a news release issued last week, RAIL.ONE announced the plant will have an annual production capacity of 600,000 concrete ties. The company is a leading international manufacturer of the concrete ties and systems provider for railway track. In addition, RAIL.ONE manufactures main-track and turnout ties made of concrete.

The Clinton-produced ties will be sold to major rail companies across North America.

“Our entry in the extensive and highly promising American market offers attractive opportunities for further business development,” Jochen Riepl, chief executive officer of RAIL.ONE GmbH, said in the release. “The current annual replacement of around 22 million wooden ties on American railroads will result in their increasingly greater exchange in the form of concrete ties.”

To enter the new market, RAIL.ONE Group has founded a U.S. subsidiary, RAIL.ONE USA Corp.

The company plans to invest $15 million in land acquisition, infrastructure links and the facility, which it said will be one of the “most advanced railroad tie factories in the world.”

The Clinton project will create more than 60 jobs.

RAIL.ONE has more than 600 employees and plants in Germany, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Korea, Turkey and Hungary.

In addition to RAIL.ONE, one of its suppliers — Utah-based Nevada Railroad Materials Inc. — has plans to build a facility in Clinton’s railport and create another 30 jobs. The company will supply railroad cars to RAIL.ONE and recycle old wooden railroad ties.

According to RAIL.ONE, North America signifies an important market for its concrete tie technology because the demands on railway infrastructure in North America are much more rugged than those in Europe. With the majority of America’s rail lines involved in freight transport, RAIL.ONE said the lines see annual loads of up to 250 million gross tons. In addition, typical American axle loads also are greater than in Europe.

“The great train frequency in North America likewise results in track loads in many cases that are seven times that of heavily frequented combined freight-passenger lines in Europe,” the company said.

To meet the demands, RAIL.ONE has developed a special heavy-haul tie, the HHS 42/6 model that also satisfies regulations in Europe. Prototypes have been proven their capabilities in tests at Munich Technical University and in actual operations.

(1) comment

Jamie Bedford

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