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“Learned the trade from the ground up”

Manfred is happy to pass on his many years of railway technology experience to younger colleagues.

Interview with Manfred, deputy technical manager of the business unit railway technology at EQOS Energie

In Austrian catenary construction, Manfred (67) from St. Valentin is a genuine institution and one of the best in the industry. Even though he could enjoy his well-earned retirement, he still chooses to pass on his knowledge instead. It is specifically the next generation in catenary lines at EQOS Energie that benefits from his wealth of experience.

Occupational safety is a key aspect for us. I always put that fact center stage with our young technicians. Our work harbors risks, but they can be calculated. Occupational health and safety mainly also depend on good project planning. There must be no sloppiness in our profession. If the work is done right, there is not much that can happen. Other than that, common sense is important. I always equally appeal to the young technicians to exhibit that.

In our area, all of us have a good relationship and camaraderie. Some of the railway technicians at EQOS Energie even live in the same town. Every once in a while we also meet on weekends, so my son is no exception. However, as a senior fitter he is more out in the field than I am. But the collaboration is the same as with all other fitters: If something is wrong and they don’t know what to do, they call me. I make no distinctions.

» I think if the company is doing well, so do I. «

Technically, I could have retired regularly in July 2012. However, there were some staff changes, so I didn’t hesitate a moment and offered to stay another year in order to keep supporting our young team. It is fun to work with them and to share my knowledge with all of them. I think if the company is doing well, so do I. And one additional year has turned into four. On the other hand, I extended my employment for the last time now. Then I will call it quits – well, for now …

I am particularly proud of our projects at the main Linz railway station. Since 2012, we have handled projects of various sizes there. Since the main Linz railway station is one of the largest in all of Austria, the work there is very complex and demanding in most cases. In some cases, the individual construction stages of the projects extend over several years and sometimes the coordination with other trades requires special organisational talent. Since the remodeling work takes place during regular operations, only individual catenary line sections can be switched off during night shifts on weekends. As a result, our activities are not without risk. For risky work, we always assign the same team, if possible, because they know the locations best and we can therefore minimise any hazards as much as possible. The projects there have run smoothly, and this was confirmed by the customer who indicated that he was extremely satisfied – I was very happy about this.