Spun concrete mast with its advantages

Since the 1990s, FUCHS Europoles has been manufacturing special masts made of prestressed spun concrete for rail traffic. These C-masts have been optimized in such a way that they can be produced with 30 percent less material than their predecessors: they are lighter and cheaper, easy to transport and uncomplicated to set up. On the other hand, they are flow-stable, corrosion-resistant, durable and maintenance-free. Deutsche Bahn (DB) is satisfied.

The ABC of concrete masts

As early as the late 1980s, at the time of German reunification, Deutsche Bahn asked FUCHS Europoles for cooperation: new masts for local and long-distance traffic were to meet the increased requirements in terms of flexibility while at the same time optimizing costs. The B masts used to date from 1974, developed by DB itself, and their improved new B masts (NB masts) were not designed for high speed and otherwise no longer met the current standards: in particular, they kept the extreme ones air turbulence and vibrations of a passing ICE. In a cooperation project with Siemens, FUCHS Europoles then developed the C-mast system.

Planning and calculating in the house

FUCHS Europoles has its own technical department, which is made up of planners, technicians and structural engineers who can also quickly construct, calculate and draw something new – in accordance with current standards and norms. This is also the case in this case: FUCHS Europoles prestressed spun concrete masts, which are so stable that they can withstand the powerful air currents that arise when a high-speed train rushes by at 330 kilometers per hour. The special feature: the masts are stiff and do not vibrate after the train has passed.

Prestressed spun concrete – unbreakable

Tailor-made reinforcement baskets and steel cables, which are tensioned into the mast shape before being spun, increase the stability of the masts; at the same time they reduce the required material and thus costs. In addition, the new carriers for the overhead lines do not require corrosion protection, maintenance or repairs, since the surface is non-porous and smooth thanks to the centrifugal process. Frost or polluted air are no longer an issue. There is also no need for time-consuming foundation work: the masts can be easily set into special pile foundations up to a maximum depth of 75 centimetres. The concrete masts for overhead lines, which are between seven and 16 meters high, are made in one piece and can be easily transported by truck and erected with a crane. Concrete prices have been stable for years; that gives planning security.

The time and cost savings of the C masts are therefore unbeatable – they are up to 30 percent cheaper and lighter than their predecessors. An NB mast weighed around 1.4 tons, while a comparable C mast weighed around one ton. This also convinced Deutsche Bahn, which has been ordering the masts from FUCHS Europoles for many years.

Hurry to the World Cup

In the World Cup year 2006, one of the most important railway lines in Germany is equipped with catenary masts from FUCHS Europoles on the high-speed line between Nuremberg and Ingolstadt: 1200 masts are installed on the 60-kilometer section. The section of the track will be put into operation just in time for the opening game.

German Unity Transport Project

The section of the route is part of a large-scale transport project that was initiated shortly after reunification and is also intended to connect the two parts of Germany publicly: the German Unity Transport Project (VD). Since the 1990s, the route from Munich to Berlin has been successively expanded with high-speed lines via the VDE. From 2011, another section of the north-south axis will be equipped with masts by FUCHS Europoles: 3,000 masts will be erected between Erfurt and Ilmenau; The route was approved at the end of 2017: "Some of the masts were already erected a few years ago," says Jurate Narakaite, the project manager for catenary masts at FUCHS Europoles. "Now they are fitted with cables and then go into operation."

FUCHS Europoles offers sustainable service

In the meantime, however, the standards have changed, so that the railway company approaches FUCHS Europoles again and has them calculate whether the existing masts are still sufficient for the quality requirements that have meanwhile increased and the increased payloads. FUCHS Europoles, as a long-standing and reliable service provider, has its in-house structural engineers recalculate and can put your mind at ease: the existing masts can also carry the higher payloads without any problems and do not have to be replaced.

The standard mast types can be equipped with any add-on parts; directly spun-in threaded bushings and through-holes allow later effortless attachment of add-on parts such as outriggers or tensioning devices.

Optimizing processes – 30 masts a day

On the Erfurt – Ilmenau route, construction will even start from two ends. The organization with the project management of the construction site works perfectly: A construction site train distributes the masts from previously set up storage facilities along the tracks to their locations; On site, they are placed in the foundations and wedged using a rope and crane – done. "We were able to erect up to 30 masts per day," the project manager recalls.

Beautiful prospects for “migratory birds”

Similar to power masts, bird protection is also taken into account with the innovative catenary masts. Because the stronger air currents do not leave their mark on the large birds of prey, which like to use the masts as lookouts. Rather, the turbulence generated can press the wings on the lines. With a correspondingly large wingspan, two phases would be bridged in an emergency, which would result in an electric shock. This is prevented by increasing the distance between the boom and the mast spigot. Buzzard, Milan & Co. now simply have their perch a good bit above the overhead lines: where the draft is no longer as strong. The next ICE can come.


Location: Nuremberg, Bavaria and Erfurt, Thuringia
Execution period: 2001 to 2005, 2011 to 2017

  • Project 1: 1200 C masts
  • Project 2: 3000 C masts
  • Material: prestressed spun concrete; concrete quality C80/95; round-conical
  • Heights: 8 – 16.25 m
  • Diameter at the base: 310 – 580 mm
  • Diameter at the top: 167.5 – 370 mm
  • Weight: 0.8 – 4.5 tons
  • Foundation: Large pipe foundation (rammed pipe foundation)

Customer: Deutsche Bahn

Project 1: Line expansion Nuremberg – Ingolstadt

Project 2: Line expansion Erfurt – Ingolstadt