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Acquisition Will Shake Up Rail Ballast Maintenance Sector

Written by Bill Wilson, Engineering Editor; and Editor-in-Chief, Railway Track & Structures
Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group has entered into an agreement for the acquisition of the Balfour Beatty Track Solutions division.

Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group has entered into an agreement for the acquisition of the Balfour Beatty Track Solutions division.

Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group (RSRG) has entered into an agreement with Balfour Beatty U.S. to acquire the Balfour Beatty Track Solutions division.

The division will be rebranded as Rhomberg Sersa North America (RSNA).

The acquisition means that RSNA will be the largest owner operator of ballast cleaning services in North America.

The purchase increases the geographic footprint of RSRG, a company which already operates on three continents and in seven other countries, including Canada. It also makes RSRG one of the few European rail contractors to have a significant and permanent presence in the U.S., RSRG said.

With a fleet of eight ballast cleaners including the three newest and most highly productive Plasser RM80 undercutters in North America, and supported by more than 30 experienced and qualified technicians, RSNA will continue to provide the lowest cost per foot cut to clients with the best machine reliability, according to the company. The recent addition of 10 Plasser MFS Wagons and two specialized Power Wagons further expands the ability of RSNA to provide end-to-end solutions for ballast renewal projects, it reported.

RSNA will take over Balfour Beatty Track Solutions’ existing contracts with both public and private companies and plans to grow the division’s business across the U.S. Its existing client base includes NJ Transit, New York MTA, BNSF and Amtrak, and the division is said to scan and report on the status of 30,000-plus miles of track annually.

Pictured: Ballast cleaner RKCX 131, one of the new machines that will support customers of RSRG. (Photo Courtesy of RSRG)

“As one of the technology leaders in the global rail business, we aim to support our customers everywhere in the world with an innovative, high-quality portfolio,” RSRG CEO Thomas Bachhofner said. “The competencies and machinery of the Track Solution team will clearly help us in this endeavor. We welcome the team of Steve Atherton and we are looking forward to developing the U.S. business by creating synergies within RSRG.”

“Over the past 20 years, Balfour Beatty has invested in some of the very best ballast maintenance equipment and technologies, which has translated into Track Solutions becoming a leader in track bed and ballast maintenance as well as inspection technologies in the U.S.,” Rhomberg Sersa North America CEO Michael Match said. “Meanwhile in Canada, Rhomberg Sersa is the market leader in ballast cleaning, milling and specialized urban grinding. This acquisition will create by far the largest owner operator of ballast cleaning services in North America and with the market leading inspection technologies, we can provide end-to-end solutions to clients to restore their track bed and top of rail.”

“The Track Solutions team offers specialized services that align nicely with RSRG’s core business of high output track maintenance machines,” Balfour Beatty U.S. CEO Leon Blondin said. “As one of the country’s largest rail contractors, Balfour Beatty will continue its focus on its core rail business in capital programs and traction power as we hand over the Track Solutions team into the trusted hands of RSRG.”

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