From the wooden sleeper to high-speed tracks

From Pfleiderer to RAIL.ONE –
more than 100 years of innovation and quality in rail transport

Gustav Adolf Pfleiderer established a lumber rafting and trading business in Heilbronn, Germany, in 1894. Following his death in 1896, his sons Adolf and Paul Otto took over the reins of the company.

In 1919 the brothers acquired a sawmill in Neumarkt and began the industrial manufacture of trimmed lumber and wooden sleepers.

In 1920 the company began its close collaboration with Deutsche Bahn (then known as Deutsche Reichsbahn), which continues to this day. The Pfleiderer brothers improved their wooden sleepers and developed innovative solutions for rail infrastructure technology.

The company headquarters were moved to Neumarkt in 1931, followed by the central office in 1944. Neumarkt became the head office of Pfleiderer Holzhandlung.

Management of the company passed to Herbert Pfleiderer, son of Paul Otto, in 1949. He oversaw the manufacture of the first concrete sleepers in 1954. The company began to transform into a producer of infrastructure technology.

The number of employees exceeded 1,000 by the end of the 1960s.

The extremely successful B70 concrete sleeper was launched in 1970. It is still the most widely used prestressed concrete sleeper in the Deutsche Bahn network. Developed by the Bundesbahn Central Office, it is being constantly improved in cooperation with RAIL.ONE.

In 1972, the first ballastless rail system was installed in the Rheda-Wiedenbrück station.

Management of the company passed to Ernst-Herbert Pfleiderer, son of Herbert, in 1973. In the 1980s, the company expanded into different areas of the building materials industry.

The company acquired its first concrete sleeper plant outside Germany in 1993: a production facility for track und turnout sleepers in Lábatlan, Hungary.

In 1994, concrete sleeper production began at the Travipos plant in Spain.

1997 saw Pfleiderer AG listed on the stock market.

The RHEDA 2000® ballastless track system was introduced in 2000. This system is particularly suited for state-of-the-art high-speed lines, since it is approved for speeds of up to 350 km/h.

Concrete sleeper manufacture began in Romania in 2001.

Since 2002, RAIL.ONE  has been involved in the construction of numerous high-speed lines: HSL Zuid in the Netherlands, THSR in Taiwan, Gyeongbu High Speed Railway in South Korea, and Wuhan-Guangzhou in China.

In 2006, the Pfleiderer track systems segment, with around 850 employees, was sold to AXA Private Equity and renamed RAIL.ONE.

Five new plants opened in China in 2006 – 2007.

The first sleepers were manufactured in RAIL.ONE factories in South Korea and Saudi Arabia in 2007.

2008: Start of sleeper production in South Africa and Turkey.

In 2009, the hinged turnout sleeper went into production, enabling turnout sleepers to be carried on regular freight cars for the first time. The turnout sleepers, up to 4.8 meters in length, are cut into sections and fitted with a hinge. This development won the CNA Innovation Prize in 2011.

Jochen Riepl took over as sole managing director of RAIL.ONE in 2011.

In 2013, RAIL.ONE was taken over by India’s PCM Group of Industries.

2014: Start of sleeper production in Algeria. The first plant in the USA was also opened. The production facility in Clinton, Iowa, manufactures customized sleepers for heavy goods transportation in the USA.

In 2015, RAIL.ONE was restructured within the PCM Group of Industries and was able to enjoy even more support on the international market with a new management company, PCM RAIL.ONE AG; at the same time, it became able to focus even more directly on customer requirements on the German rail market with a dedicated company, RAIL.ONE GmbH.

In 2016, RAIL.ONE marked its tenth anniversary in the presence of its Indian partner and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Kamal Kumar Mittal. The second plant opened in Ha’il, Saudi Arabia.