Aarsleff Rail A/S is one of the leading companies in Denmark within railway infrastructure work. The company is a member of The Aarsleff Group, a leading Danish contracting company.
Founded by Per Aarsleff in 1947, Aarsleff focuses on large-scale projects within infrastructure, climate change adaptation, the environment, energy and other areas – from design to project handover. The group employs a total of 4,000 people and generates annual revenues of 7.4 billion DKK.
“Aarsleff Rail unites all technical railway competencies of The Aarsleff Group,” says Managing Director Thomas Mollerup. “We do everything related to rail infrastructures: construction, signaling, welding, earthwork, maintenance and so on.”
Aarsleff Rail carries on the work of Banekonsortiet, a consortium of three companies with many years of experience in rail infrastructure work: the civil engineering contractor Petri & Haugsted A/S, the electricity, interlocking and catenary systems specialist Wicotec Kirkebjerg A/S and Per Aarsleff A/S, the parent company of Aarsleff Rail.
“Through the collaboration in Aarsleff Rail, there is an optimum utilization of synergy effects,” states Mr. Mollerup. Aarsleff Rail was created in 2009 and today has a workforce of 400 highly qualified professionals and annual revenues of 0.5 billion DKK, or approximately 70 million EUR.
The railway contractor is operating in a market with intense competition. “There are only very few contractors specialized in rail infrastructure work, but we compete with civil work contractors and major international providers,” explains Mr. Mollerup.
What makes the situation even more challenging is the fact that most projects are executed over a limited time span – in good weather periods, during summer holidays, over the weekend and at night when there are fewer travelers.
“Competition is tough,” says Mr. Mollerup. “In the first quarter of the year, everyone is looking for work to be executed in the second and third quarters, and in the fourth, activities are very limited.”
Despite this demanding environment, Aarsleff Rail has developed very positively over the last five years and has managed to sustain and further extend its position in the Danish rail infrastructure sector. This is because the company covers the entire range of rail work competences, from railway safety solutions, track work and earthwork to interlocking/high voltage systems, traction current systems and structures.
“We are approved for the supply of all types of rail safety services in relation to work on busy railway tracks and railway stations in Denmark,” states Mr. Mollerup. The rail safety portfolio includes planning and execution in accordance with the current railway safety regulations, preparation of railway safety plans and instructions, ordering of track closures and catenary line interruptions, and applications for dispensation.
In addition, Aarsleff Rail provides railway safety staff to handle railway safety during the execution of the work. The extensive range of track work services comprises mechanical track renewal and ballast cleaning, track renewal projects, alignment work and all types of welding.
“During the past years, we have completed many of the manual track renewal jobs in Denmark,” explains Mr. Mollerup. “These projects often comprise a wide range of specialist fields such as site safety management, tracks, earthworks, interlocking, highvoltage power, traction current and railway safety.”
In the area of earthwork, Aarsleff Rail establishes new subgrade and undertakes all required drainage work for the construction of new subgrade. The company also carries out a wide variety of interlocking and high-voltage jobs during track renewals and manages maintenance projects as a subcontractor to Banedanmark and other rail infrastructure operators.
With authorization in accordance with Denmark’s heavy current regulations, Aarsleff Rail undertakes all electrical work on Banedanmark’s systems, too. The broad portfolio of services is rounded off by the construction and renovation of bridges and other rail structures. “We renovate all kinds of structures for the railway and carry out many of Banedanmark’s bridge renovation projects,” states Mr. Mollerup.
It is this all-inclusive portfolio that differentiates Aarsleff Rail from the competition. “We have all activities in-house and do everything ourselves, with the exception of mechanical track work, where we cooperate with a partner. There are only a few players with such broad competence in rail infrastructure.”
Another distinguishing factor is that Aarsleff Rail performs all activities with its own staff, without relying on subcontractors, to deliver work that meets the highest quality levels.
“All our employees attend a basic railway construction safety course, and many have special qualifications as controllers of railway safety, guard posts, track vehicle operators, track technicians, traction current technicians or track welders,” says Mr. Mollerup.
Last but not least, Aarsleff Rail puts great emphasis on state-of-the-art equipment to complete its demanding jobs. The company has all kinds of specialized machinery needed to execute all projects as efficiently and safely as possible.
Banedanmark aims to double the number of people using public transport by 2020 and expand the country’s high-speed rail network. This growth scenario is good news for Aarsleff Rail. As the leading provider of rail infrastructure work in Denmark, the company is in an excellent position to benefit – provided it can manage to hire enough new professionals with specialist qualifications.
“This could be a bottleneck in further developing the firm, but we are an attractive employer with a good working atmosphere and excellent career opportunities,” says Mr. Mollerup. An interesting project coming up deals with light rail lines in Denmark which will be tendered in the next five to ten years. Aarsleff Rail already has its foot in the door, though:
Currently, the company is involved in civil works to prepare the tracks for these new lines in Aarhus.