Golden Jubilee – Alex Boonstra, Welding Expert

Alex has been working at Bemo Rail for 25 years now, since October 1994. Alex has grown into one of our welding experts. “There is no weld that Alex cannot make, except maybe a thermite welding, as this is mainly done by the field staff,” explains Teun Druijf (director).

Alex: “At the time, Bemo Rail was still quite small. In the workshop, you did whatever work was needed, from drilling strips to milling and assembly. When I started, Bemo Rail had approximately 16 employees: eight people worked in the office and the other eight in the field and workshop. We built rails and winch installations. In addition, we did maintenance work on locomotives. We had a 5 tonne crane in the workshop (now we have two 50 tonne cranes), so the possibilities were a little more limited.

When we started to grow as a company, I also specialised more. First, I worked on the CNC machine (on the drilling line) for a while and later I started welding.”

inhouse-welding

Different Times
Alex: “When we were located in Waarland, we were situated between agricultural companies and the building became too small very quickly. We had a small drilling street of 3 metres. But we sometimes had to drill rails of 12 metres on that street, which of course didn’t fit. To solve the problem, we made two holes in the building, with hatches so that the rails could pass through. Our neighbour Arie sometimes came into the workshop (he was a farmer) with the question: “Can you move those rails? I have to get my tractor past!” The lack of space caused some occasional problems. Someone once parked his car in front of one of the hatches; the machine pushed the rails out and straight through the car. You can imagine the look on his face when he saw a rail plate sticking through the front of his car….

“We experienced some silly things over the years in Waarland. One day, I was working in the workshop and when I turned around there was a horse behind me. The neighbours from across the field had horses and the beast had jumped over the fence and walked straight into our workshop. Horses, sheep, goats, pigeons – that’s the kind of visitors we got sometimes. They were really different times; nowadays that’s longer possible.

Proud of our locomotives!
“I feel proud of the locomotives that we build here. We make the locomotives ourselves from scratch, which allows us to design and create a unique product with a great quality. The materials are specially ordered and arrive in the workshop as strips and plates and we ensure that everything is drilled, milled, welded and assembled. When we test-drive, it’s still very special to see every single time. We start with a design and before you know it, the locomotive is built and running. That is beautiful!

“In the 25 years that I have been working here, things have changed a lot. We used to have an old saw and a welding machine; now, we are a fully equipped and professional workplace. There are also more rules. Everything we do is categorised and we work with manufacturing books, so that we can trace every step.

Bemo Rail is a company that is very flexible and can respond fast to the needs of our clients. That is without a doubt one of the greatest strengths of the company!”