Bertrand Gryspeert

Exhibitor interview Vossloh Nordic Switch Systems


Who are you and what is your role at Vossloh? 
– My name is Bertrand Gryspeert and I am CEO for Vossloh Nordic Switch Systems.

How did you decide to participate in Train & Rail?
– We strongly believe in Train & Rail's ambition to be the meeting place for a joint gathering of forces within the railway industry. The railway faces major challenges in the coming years, and then we all have to help each other to succeed.

What is Vossloh's goal with Train & Rail?
– We want to build networks and contribute to discussions that support the common development of the industry. As a company, we want to contribute to a better railway with what we do best. We want to talk about and contribute to higher accessibility to the railway system and lower life cycle costs. We see that the industry and the Swedish Transport Administration can collaborate even more and come up with well-planned and smart maintenance concepts.
We belong to an advanced manufacturing industry with a strong base in Sweden. Historically, we have not been very involved in what happens to the products after they leave the factory. We want to change that. The industry and its process thinking have an enormous amount to contribute.

What questions do you think are the most important for the railways of the future?
- Collaboration. Undoubtedly. That is why I am glad that the Swedish Transport Administration also has communication as one of its focus areas. Then, the skills challenge is also hugely important together with digitization and efficiency.

– Digitization. Tools such as BIM can contribute to smarter planning and shorter track work times, more traffic on existing tracks and better opportunities for planning.

- Sustainability. Connected facilities also help us map degradation and see maintenance needs at the right time. I am also fully convinced that we can increase the robustness, upgrade and extend the life of some components if we understand how and when they can break. Lower life cycle costs, better information in real time, increased punctuality, increased capacity will be the sum of it all. In this way, we create a better interaction between us who build and equip the railway and those who will run more trains on it. There is hardly anything more sustainable than that!

Why is competence provision so important?
– It is a matter of fate. It is already extremely difficult today to find the right people who can handle all parts of the railway in everything from electricity supply and safety systems to infrastructure such as switches, signaling systems, telecoms and sensors. Many who sit on high railway competence retire within ten years' time.

– Vossloh depends on all chains in the railway industry to function as they should. For example, we have worked hard and for a long time to raise the competence supply issue and I represent Swedtrain, for example, in the steering group for the newly established Railway College.

– If we cannot mobilize new competence on a sufficiently large scale, the risk is imminent that the plan for the transport infrastructure 2022–2033 will fail – simply because there is no competent workforce to execute the plan. And then you have to remember that the railway competes against all other industries that recruit. We have to think new and become extremely attractive.

– We are establishing ourselves in Hallsberg right now, where we want to build a brand new factory. In our new premises, we also have the ambition to prepare space for railway technical training courses that can benefit the entire industry.

Is the railway really the future?
– We believe that the railway is crucial if we are to achieve carbon neutrality on a global level. Track-bound passenger and freight traffic is the guarantor of low transport emissions, and we in Sweden play a direct and important role in that development when we are now faced with a historically major upgrade of the railways, at the same time that train travel is more popular than ever. 

– It is important to understand that everything is connected. Today we see that climate-smart train travel is increasing and that the railway is an exciting future industry and a smart career choice. But if the plans for upgrading and rejuvenating the infrastructure cannot be carried out, it is only a matter of time before the railway itself also has so many built-in flaws that it loses its attractiveness and the climate gains diminish.