Zug um Zug in die Zukunft – Consequences of the Liberalization of the Passenger Railway Sector on Train Maintenance

06. Juli 2020

Sommersemester 2020 - ÖBB Technische Services


ÖBB TS, Austria’s biggest railway maintenance company, faces the challenge of liberalization of the passenger railway sector in Austria and Europe: By 2029, other state-owned and private providers apart from ÖBB will have access to the Austrian railway passenger transport market. On the one hand, liberalization provides ÖBB TS with diverse opportunities. On the other hand, remaining the market leader and competing in this new and upcoming environment will represent a major challenge for the years to come.


Our goal was to analyze the current situation on the market and to provide ÖBB TS with specific solutions and recommendations for the upcoming five to ten years in preparation for the liberalization. These specific suggestions serve to provide guidance for ÖBB TS regarding how the future might look like and what they can do now in order to profit from the new environment and to prevent them from losing ground.


Coming from a fundamental literature review, combined with 21 expert interviews, analyses of developments in already liberalized rail markets and analogous industries were conducted. Based on best practice and benchmark analyses, trends were clustered and two future scenarios were created. Out of them, six essential opportunities could be identified that will allow ÖBB TS to strengthen and extend their market power.


Based on our extensive analyses six detailed recommendations could be derived: As location will remain a crucial factor in train maintenance, all strategic locations throughout the country should be preserved. In addition, new markets with similar condition could be conquered. With skilled labor being a paramount resource, training and recruitment will become essential competitive factors that need to be reinforced. As Full-Service-Leasing is becoming an increasingly popular concept among new competitors, ÖBB TS can counter that by actively influencing the developments and consider future-oriented revenue generation through contractual maintenance requirements. While digitalization is also making its way in the maintenance sector, it will be crucial to keep up with the latest developments and provide up-to-date solutions for customers. In order to do that, cooperation in the sector and with train manufacturers can provide significant competitive advantages and set up market entry barriers for potential competitors.

Cooperation Partner

  • ÖBB Technische Services
    Grillgasse 48, 1110 Wien

Contact Person

  • Jörg Schirnhofer
    +43 664 883 317-02

Student Team

  • Anna Csoklich
    Maximilian Fraissler
    Christoph Guggenberger
    Lisa Halbweis
    Carl Horlacher
    Nina Hotwagner

Project Manager

  • Linn Kretzschmar, MSc

  • Sophie Quach, MA

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