10 years of RSRG

Successful because we have mastered complexity

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10 Years of the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group, as recounted by Walter-Heinz Rhomberg, owner, Deputy Chairman of the Group Advisory Board; involved in the family business since 1963.

How everything started

In 2005, Rhomberg as general contractor received the major order for the Lötschberg Base Tunnel in Switzerland. The locomotives that we needed for that came from Sersa. At the time, Hubert was CEO of Rhomberg Bahntechnik and was on the same wavelength as Konrad Schnyder - the two of them got along excellently. When the project was completed, the question arose: “Should we perhaps merge?” Sersa was a leading force in Switzerland, Rhomberg in Austria.


This was new territory for both businesses. Until then, we had only collaborated in working consortiums. There was a distinct risk in merging. As my experiences in life had taught me to be sceptical, I had my doubts at first. I had observed a few company mergers that later led to unforeseeable difficulties. Of course, I also saw the advantages of a possible merger - apart from the geographic ones, there were also structural advantages. The two enterprises didn’t do exactly the same thing; we complemented each other. The company Sersa had worked in the area of narrow gauges, among others, and owned traction vehicles. Rhomberg, on the other hand, was also experienced in the project business and had been installing slab track for a long time.


After much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that the risk could not be disproportionately large, as our cultures were similar. They are both family businesses; our clients, management and the employees can sense us as owners. That is how the merger to become Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group came about in 2012. In one fell swoop we became much bigger and more international; Sersa brought along the Canadian market, Rhomberg contributed Australia.

We both want long-term success

Success starts with a strategy, which with us is always focused on the long term. We involve our employees from different levels in our strategic deliberations and discussions. The foundation for everything that is to succeed is mutual trust. Of course there have been some challenges in the markets as well in these 10 years, most of which we have overcome. Together we have always steered the ship on the right course. In difficult situations it becomes clear what is meant by trust and cooperation.


One strength of our group is being able to analyse challenges quickly in order to discover their cause. We always endeavour to solve the issue for the client in the best possible way and to retain profitability for ourselves. Dealing fairly with all stakeholders is the most important thing for us.

Quality of relationship right from the start

Hubert and I maintain a stable friendly relationship with Koni Schnyder. Apart from business meetings, we also meet once or twice a year for an exchange. A good relationship is possible when you are generous towards each other and overlook petty issues. This quality was present from the start. We live this company culture.

Celebrating the success in Australia

I withdrew from the operational business in 2002 and switched to the holding company. For the first time, I took the liberty of taking four weeks' holiday. Our holiday destination was Australia; my wife and I wanted to visit acquaintances there. Since I held a position in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce at the time, I visited my colleagues at the Chamber of Commerce in Sydney without any specific intention. They asked me whether I had business interests in Australia. Because if I did, they would happily supply me with suitable contacts. That is how the first discussions came about, among others with the company Plasser & Theurer, which operated a track refurbishing train in Sydney. I returned from Australia with a lot of insider info in my luggage. The next steps are well known: In 2005, we bought Track Australia. We have grown from the twelve employees then to more than 200 employees. In 2021, we had the best results in the history of that location. Even if there were a few kinks to sort out for a few years, I am very proud of what our group has achieved in Australia.

Successful because we have mastered complexity

In my opinion, our group is so successful because we’ve mastered the complexity of the different fields. Other businesses can mostly only cover partial areas. With us, there are multiple synergies created by the cooperation between our departments. This concept holds wide-ranging advantages for our clients, as one can also see in the construction of the large project for the DB’s ICE 4 in Cottbus. It would be desirable for the tender conditions of our clients to allow for more synergies. Especially to the advantage of quality and costs. Thanks to our competence in project management, we can implement complex projects, and we regard this as our strength for advancing into other markets.

Going into the fifth generation with the business

My vision for the year 2032: Rail has been confirmed as the means of transport of the future. Our market is secure in the long run. We continue to be very successful in the German- and English-speaking space and new countries have joined as well. The expansion in North America has been extremely successful. The children and grandchildren in our families have all found a place in the group. My and Hubert’s wish to take the business into the fifth generation has been fulfilled.

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