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EP_19.jpg May/June 2005
Cover Story
CIOB
Going Mobile
Leonhard Weiss
Rambøl
Speedy Hire
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ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Leonhard Weiss GmbH & Co KG, backed by105 years of experience, has an established position in various industry sectors.

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03.jpg Founded by Leonhard Weiss in 1900, the company began life in the track construction industry. Mainly based and established in the Southern part of Germany, Leonhard Weiss GmbH& Co KG spread to the East, with the fall of the Berlin wall. Today the company has over 13 main sites with a number of smaller regional office locations. Being one of the biggest key players within the railway industry in Germany, the company has expanded its services into various fields of business including civil engineering, turnkey construction, road construction, line construction, foundation engineering and floor technology. In addition to this, Leonhard Weiss also has a subsidiary company for the reconstruction of stones and historical monuments.

Playing a major role in this family business for the last 30 years, managing director Ulrich Weiss, tells Construction Today the various projects the company has successfully carried out: “Since 1990, we have been working in Scandinavia, where we have carried out maintenance work that involves tamping of tracks, switches and crossings. This is a yearly contract and working with five machines, our team will begin work in the next couple of weeks.

“In the same year, there was a major flood in Poland and, working alongside a Polish company that carried out the welding of rails, we were called in to carry out emergency works. As there were no bridges left, we needed to install temporary structures to allow the traffic to flow and with our special rail bound cranes, we carried out the first repairs of some tracks. Based on the good working relationship we had with the local company in Poland, combined with our know-how, we managed to gain more work in Poland recently.”

He continues: “Last year, we managed to win a further project for cable construction and signalling in Switzerland. We have a subsidiary company in Zurich that commenced on the design and build contract for Alcatel that involved cabling works from Zurich to Thayngen. At the moment, we are also working on Lötschberg, which is a huge tunnel project that requires the mounting of signalling equipment.”

Ulrich continues detailing other significant projects: “We recently acquired a contract in Italy for a railway line between Bozen and Meran, that had been shut for several years. The line had undergone rehabilitation via a different company and the track operator had been looking for a reliable company to carry out the inspection works, which is where we were called in. This is an ongoing project and our task is to carry out the inspection as well as minor repairs, should we come across any.

“From 2001 to 2002, we worked as a sub contractor on our first project in Romania. With a total of 170 kilometres of track renewal, it was certainly a large and challenging task for us involving one of the pan-European corridor projects where tracks from Bukarest to Brasov were rehabilitated with one of our high output track renewal trains.”

He adds: “Furthermore, we have recently won a major contract of 800 million euros to build an exhibition hall in Stuttgart, Germany. It is a huge site and, working in a joint venture with other companies, we will be carrying out the street construction and civil engineering.”

Highlighting the challenges, Ulrich comments: “The presence of local companies in most countries is important and being well known, they have good relations with customers and have built up their trust. The major challenge we have is, despite our reputation, we are a foreign company and nobody has worked with us before in these countries. Consequently, we have to ensure our work is of a high quality in order to build the trust and a good working relationship. The challenge of constantly proving ourselves, certainly keeps us on our toes at all times.”

When asked on what sets Leonhard Weiss apart, Ulrich states: “The one factor that differentiates us is our ability to execute difficult projects in terms of quality, reliability and ability to complete a contract within a short time. Being very specialised in key products, we do not put ourselves forward for projects that could be carried out by every other company, specialising only on those that are challenging and difficult.

Commenting on the future, he adds: “Though there are no current plans, we are certainly seeking to expand the company organically and are interested in the countries that are adjacent to Germany as well as the new members of the European Union.”  CT-E

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