Golden Jubilee – Frans Seignette – Chef In-House Workshop

Expansion with In-House Assembly & Installation
In 1986, Bemo Rail moved to a facility in Waarland. For the first time, Bemo Rail had its own workshop. It was a great opportunity for Bemo Rail to grow and expand our services with the assembly and installation of our own rail and shunting products.

Frans Seignette, Chef In-House Workshop
After gaining experience elsewhere as a construction engineer, Frans Seignette no longer wanted to work behind the drawing table. So he opted for a job in the Bemo Rail workshop as service engineer. With his experience in construction engineering, Frans is a great asset to Bemo Rail. Today, almost 31 years later, Frans heads up the Bemo Rail workshop and is indispensable.

Frans: “At Bemo Rail, we excel in crane rails that require innovative solutions. We always come to a solution in good collaboration with the client. In all these years, we have gained a great deal of knowledge on how to approach tasks. We always strive for quality. We build safe, modern, durable and user-friendly shunting locomotives. We are constantly improving them. The finishing, the operating system and the traction control system, for instance. The traction control system gives more control over braking and skidding, which is especially important with remote control. We innovate to improve the product in general, and to meet customers’ demands, of course.”

Frans: “At the beginning, we mainly made train or wagon shunting systems specially designed to move wagons on loading and unloading stations, also called shunting winches, and we did maintenance work on locomotives. The Rail department started growing and we started to do more and more assembly work. When I started working at Bemo, I also frequently worked in the field, putting the finishing touches to assembly jobs.”

Our Team
Frans: “On the floor, we work with a hard-working team of experienced, well-trained and inquisitive guys. I always try to coach them as well as I can to achieve their maximum potential. Not only with the shunter locs we build, but also when the use our own machines in the workplace.

“We are constantly developing. We have automated the tamper, for instance, to make the work lighter and better to handle for the field staff, when the are packing the ballast under the railway.

I am proud of the team and of the new shunting locomotives that we are building in our professional workshop here in Warmenhuizen. We have a 12-metre CNC drill and milling machine; not everyone has such large facilities. We can process large products and we are good at it!”

Peel Ports rail construction on ballast bed – phase 2 completed

Bemo Rail completed fase 2 in Liverpool last week. After the successful completion of fase 1 in 2016, also fase 2 is completed to the full satisfaction of Peel Ports and McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd.

For the deep-water container terminal Liverpool2 of Peel Ports Group (UK) we installed cranes rails with concrete sleepers on ballast bed. Our own engineering department designed the solutions for the jacking- and anchoring points of the Bemo Rail ballast system and we produced them in our in-house workshop together with the buffers.

The CRMG cranes move on the 1386 meter runway rail construction in different stack fields. With 50 years of experience worldwide, Bemo Rail is an expert in the field of crane tracks for CRMG, STS, Gantry Cranes and ballast bed constructions.

The use of a ballast bed provides stability, dampens vibrations and drains excess rainwater. When the construction is completely filled, the sleepers can be aligned in height. With a hydraulic jack the rail is levelled in the correct position. With the specially designed by Bemo Rail tamping machine/ ballast tamper the ballast is packed under each sleeper.

Bemo Rail has its own concrete sleeper for crane-rail constructions with heavy wheel loads. The rail is mounted onto a sleeper with a strong spring clip and an elastic sole plate. The sleeper can be installed very precisely in a ballast- or gravel bed, on sand-cement stabilization, or in repak.

More information


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.”


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!”

Golden Jubilee – Bemo Rail Shunters

We have been selling shunting locomotives, also known as rail shunters, at Bemo for 50 years now. Rail shunters, are typically used by companies that have their own on-site rail logistics systems.

We design and manufacture bespoke shunters from scratch at our workshop in the Netherlands, combining and tailoring standard components to customer-specific needs and requirements. This modular approach to construction makes it possible to deliver any combination of capacities, speeds, and pulling forces. Our shunters are used predominantly in heavy industry, on storage and transhipment sites and at rail and metro depots and workshops.

We employ a highly skilled workforce and integrate only the best quality materials and components. Right from the very first pencil stroke for a new design to the delivery of a brand new locomotive, safety, ergonomics and the environment are top of mind. Boasting a spacious workshop and an industry-savvy engineering department, anything is possible at Bemo Rail.

Back to the beginning…
Since 1970, Bemo Rail represented locomotive brands such as Vollert, MaK, Hunslet and Allen from England and Germany. In 1983, the Bemo business model changed. To meet our customers’ needs, we started engineering our own locomotives. First using parts that were in available in the European market; later using parts machined in our own workshop.

First Bemo locomotive 1983, assembled by Steemeijer.

Co-founder Berkhout: “The first Bemo locomotive was a diesel locomotive for the Dutch Railways. We received a one-million-guilder (approximately 453,780 euro) subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to build the locomotive. The Dutch Railways ordered a second locomotive right away, an electric one with a conductor line. That second locomotive was finished before the ‘first’. At that time, we engineered the locomotives and had them assembled by Steemeijer in Hoogwoud.”

  • 1970 – 1982 Representation of locomotives as a commercial product from England and Germany from Vollert, MaK, Hunslet and Allan.
  • 1983 Started engineering our own locomotives; assembly by Steemeijer in Hoogwoud, NL.
  • 1986 Shunter with an electric with cable, range of 1000 meters. This was used to wash the passenger trains and went to a customer in Maastricht.
  • 1987 Started with the assembly of locomotives in our workshop in Waarland. The ‘first’ Bemo locomotive made in Waarland was electrically powered, the loc went to a customer in Switzerland.
  • 1987 The second locomotive built in our workshop in Waarland was used for the Hanover stock exchange and featured during the opening of our new premises in Waarland: the locomotive burst through a banner with the world on it to emphasize the international character of Bemo Rail.
  • 1989 An old locomotive was converted into a float for the local carnival in Waarland.
  • 1993 We sold our engineering drawings of locomotives to Stork RMO.
  • 1996 First product with CE quality label, a lateral chain system with lorries, to transport steel rolls at Tata Steel. We installed both the rails and the lateral chain system with lorries.
  • 2005 New, 2nd generation of Bemo Rail locomotives. The first two machines were made for Vopak, the Dutch oil and petrochemical storing and handling company located in Vlissingen.
  • 2006 Bemo Rail develops its own train traversers.
  • 2018 Rebuilt series of Quench locomotives for Tata Steel.

Read more about the Bemo Rail Shunters.

1987 In-house assembly in the Bemo workshop in Waarland.

Series of GE Quench Locomotives for Tata Steel

Bemo Rail Train Traverse

Quench locomotive 104 delivered to Tata Steel

The fourth quench locomotive 104 has been delivered to Tata Steel this week. On site, our engineer repositioned the cabin, connected the mechanics, electrics and the quench loc is ready for testing.

Where does Tata use the quench locomotive for?
The quench locomotive is used by Tata to transport a quench wagon with cokes. Cokes is a raw material that is used as a reducing agent in the production of steel.

For the “quenching” of the cokes a quench wagon is used, which is shunted by our quench locomotive. The cokes is poured from an oven into the wagon and then quenching with water at the quenching tower, after which the coke is poured onto a conveyor belt through a dumping ramp and then transported to the oven. For this process, the quench locomotive is used to move the quench wagon along the ovens, fire tower and dump ramp.

Technical requirements
Because of this process and the surrounding conditions, specific requirements are necessary on the quench locomotive. For example, there is an extremely low friction coefficient, between wheel and rail and the cabin driver is placed high to have a view of the open top of the quench wagon. The environment is extremely polluting and aggressive, the design is therefore aimed at keeping the contamination outside the machine and engine compartment and supplying the required air in a filtered manner.

At Bemo Rail we make many types of shunting vehicles. All locomotives are engineered and produced in-house in our Bemo workshop in Warmenhuizen, NL.

More info


Golden Jubilee – Jieles de Visser In-house engineering

Since 1983, Bemo Rail has had its own engineering department (drawing office). All the designs and calculations for our locomotives, trucks, winch installations and rail track constructions are made in the drawing office. All our rail and shunting products are designed and produced in-house using first-class components.

Photo Jieles de Visser

Jieles de Visser, Senior Design Engineer
After completing the HTS and gaining practical experience, Jieles started working at Bemo Rail as a design engineer 25 years ago.

Jieles has played an important role in many projects over that time.

Jieles: “Unique at Bemo is that we do everything in-house, from drawing composition, detail and work drawings to assembly and installation on site. That is one of the reasons I enjoy working here so much.”

Technical drawings made by Bemo Rail

Back in the Days
Jieles: “I have wonderfully beautiful and very special memories. When I started working at Bemo Rail, we still used a drawing board. We’d first make a calque drawing and when the design was finished, we would cross it with ink pen. The drawings were then printed with a special engineering printing machine, which used ammonia to print. In 1996, we received our first CAD computer, which made the work a lot more practical.

Technical drawing for Nedstaal made in 1988 by Bemo Rail

Old photo Jieles de Visser (on the right) in the drawing office.

“As an employee in a relatively small organisation, you help wherever necessary. We once installed a winch installation around Christmastime at DSM in IJmuiden, a Dutch port town on the west coast. It was freezing 10 degrees that day and the anchor glue froze before we had a chance to mix it. To defrost the anchor glue, we had to turn on the car heating; the buckets were all on the dashboard. But we succeeded!

We always come up with creative solutions to problems at Bemo Rail!

Crossing Field in Stralsund, Germany, 1996
One of our first international projects was for a crossing field in Stralsund. This was a special project because it was part of a European project to revive former East Germany. We started work just shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We were the only international company working on this project alongside the Germans. A large number of Bemo Rail employees worked and lived in Stralsund for a longer period of time. We rented a large house for everyone, and the wife of one of the guys went along, too, who took care of the household like she would a family. The project took about two years to complete.

“I also remember the project in LA very well. A colleague left the site to buy some extra mortar. He didn’t realise he was not safe on the streets. When he came back, a local worker told him, he was lucky he hadn’t been shot; walking around in that neighbourhood as a foreigner was not safe. It was scary and luckily nothing happened. But we can’t say we’ve had no special experiences over the years!

“Of course, there have been changes in my field. In the engineering department, we are constantly innovating and improving. In designs, but also by choosing sustainable materials for our machines. In addition, safety standards and regulations in the industry have increased phenomenally. From the first design phase of our machines, a lot of attention is paid to safety, ergonomics and environmental aspects. To be honest, though, my work hasn’t changed much with the new regulations and standards. Safety has always been my biggest concern.

“I really enjoy working at Bemo Rail. Besides hard work, there is always time for a party and to socialise with colleagues. I think this very important to maintaining a good working environment and atmosphere.”

Golden Jubilee Bemo – Dutch Shunting Locomotive

Dutch Financial Telegraph 7 december 1985: “For the first time in years, the Netherlands has a say in the construction of locomotives.

Bemo a company from Alkmaar has developed a technically advanced shunting locomotive, which was immediately bought by the Dutch Railways. There is also a lot of interest from abroad. The locomotive can be seen on Sunday in the television program “Brandpunt in de Markt”. The last Dutch rolling stock was off the production line at Werkspoor Diesel in 1971.”

Short video with English subtitles.

Full version of the broadcast.

Rail renovation coal bunker at a waste-to-energy plant

For a waste-to-energy plant we replaced the rails, reinstalled the weldable rail clamps and renovated the base plate with injections. A special assignment, because we managed to do all these renovations while the coal bunker remained in operation, and because the rails was difficult to reach on one side, we made a custom platform to do the renovations.
Custom maintenance platform
To enable the replacement of the rail, Bemo rail carried out the work from a specially developed maintenance platform. From this “custom made” maintenance platform, the rail construction could be safely replaced with the help of cat beams and electric chain winches.The job was carried out in continuous service in order to shorten the turnaround time. All in all a great project, with a satisfied costumer.
More information about:

Golden Jubilee – Gerben Fidder Project Manager Rail Technology

Gerben Fidder started working at Bemo Rail in 2018. He is one of the newer colleagues and likes to share his experience at Bemo Rail.

Gerben: “Bemo Rail is a dynamic company, we do not give up easily and we like challenges. No project is too crazy. Whether it is in Sweden, French Guiana, Curacao, or in the Netherlands working on an extinguishing track, Bemo will get the job done. That is really something to be proud of. Bemo is unique and that is partly because we have both rail and shunting technology in-house. Thanks to this combination and our 50 years of experience, we can handle anything in the field of rail technology.”

Gerben (on the right) with collegues at Tata Steel working on a extinguishing track.

The switch to Bemo Rail
Gerben: “Before I made the switch to Bemo, I worked for seventeen years for an engineering company that specialises in construction and civil and mechanical engineering. The experience I gained there was mostly in the field of project and construction management. I started out as a supervisor and grew into a position as project coordinator. During that time, I coordinated several crane track renovation projects. Later, I became a construction manager. In this role, due to my experience with crane tracks, I was asked by a steel plant to manage the 40 to 500 ton crane tracks.

“I was a manager there for 8 years and I learned a lot about management and the maintenance of crane tracks in a production environment. After this, I was made construction and project manager at the engineering office. It was during that period that I came into contact with Bemo Rail while working on an extinguishing track project at Kooksfabriek 1 at Tata Steel. The work on the fire extinguishing track entailed a lot of effort, but it was very rewarding and a great pleasure.

“I remember well that it was hard to find a company that dared to do this challenging job, due to its technical complexity and associated coordination. But Bemo dared to take on the challenge. In that period, I collaborated intensively with Bemo. The project was a huge challenge, throwing up many complicated obstacles. We had a daily three-hour working window, after which regular production at the plant had to continue again. I thought it was great that Bemo had the flexibility, also in conversation, to solve technical obstacles and bring the job to a successful finish. It told people a lot about Bemo, about how working together went so smoothly, even when things were against us – Bemo Rail always came up with solutions.

I remember thinking to myself: “I want to be a part of that.

“After completing the project, I decided it was time for me to find a new challenge. It was by pure coincidence that George Nieuwland told me that Bemo Rail was looking for a Project Manager Rail Technology. I went for an interview and the job drew my immediate enthusiasm.  It was a position in which my experience in rail technology could be further specialised and developed. The switch from the role of client to contractor was completely new to me. It felt like a fresh start and a great opportunity for the further course of my career. Once hired, Bemo felt like a warm blanket and I still really enjoy working at Bemo. Thanks in no small part also, incidentally, to great colleagues and solidarity.

“We offer the complete rail-technology package. We make, sell, assemble and install different types of rails and related products such as sole plates, sleepers, buffers and rail clips.

“Bemo Rail projects are often long-term projects that start with capturing the interest of the customer, followed by an on-site visit and a customised offer. When the order is approved, the internal process starts: from purchase to work preparation. I ensure all the right parts, materials, planning and people are put in place. After that, it is important to ensure that the foreman and the on-site team know what’s what. I am always present at the kick-off, I think that’s important. We do the job together, as a team, and I am very happy and proud of the great results that our team has achieved!

Gerben with Teun Druijf (director) at a project in Sweden.

“The Tronox project is an example of a great, but also challenging project. Tronox produces titanium dioxide pigment and they asked us a rather complex question. It concerned a large and heavy oven that was set up on six parallel rails in a gutter with a length of 45 metres. The rails and wheels of the oven needed to be replaced, but the oven was coated with refractory brickwork on the inside. Refractory bricks are not glued in, but locked in place by an expansion process. The major concern was that the refractory brickwork would be damaged when jacking up the oven and the oven had to be jacked up in order to be able to replace the rail construction and wheels underneath.

“At Bemo, we rose to the challenge with great success! It went so well that shortly after the first oven, we were commissioned to perform the renovation work on the second, then the third and now the final oven this year.”

The future of Bemo Rail
“Within the organisation, we recently changed the way we work to a more project-based approach. We now work together on projects with all the Bemo departments and facets of the company, in specially assigned teams. This ensures that we can deliver even better results. As a company, we are constantly improving and developing in order to be more efficient, do better and meet or go beyond our customers’ demands. We help each other with our various expertises to make each project a success and to operate together at a high level, all with the ultimate aim to satisfy the customer.

“Our engineering and rail department constantly work together on innovation. We investigate options for new materials that are better for the climate, for instance, without compromising on quality. Bemo Rail is ready for the future.

“My experience after a year and a half: Bemo is a fun and diverse company where you are challenged as a person. Because of that challenge, you learn a lot in a short period of time. And at Bemo, there is also plenty of room for the personal: it is wonderful to work in an environment where people are willing to help each other.”


Golden Jubilee Bemo Rail – Sebastiaan Bachet, Foreman Rail Technology

Sebastiaan started at Bemo Rail in 2005 after a technical education and additional specialised courses in metalworking. He first worked as a mechanic in the Bemo workshop, but soon he moved to fieldwork.

Sebastiaan: “I have travelled all around the world on behalf of Bemo Rail. I have been in Laos, Thailand, Ghana, Hong Kong, Egypt, Morocco, Brazil, Peru, French Guiana, Aruba, Curacao, Finland, England, Germany and Belgium.”

Sebastiaan: “I started in Waarland, with a team of new mechanics. At the time, I was not the average Bemo employee and stood out with my diamond earrings, Nikes and Indonesian complexion. However, I quickly felt at home and have been working at Bemo for over 14 years now.

“The first three months, I spent drilling sleepers; then I was asked to join the field team. The colleagues were somewhat stiff and reserved at first. But then I got to know them and they got to know me and fortunately I found my place. We are a very close team, I wouldn’t call them family, but if you spend a long time together on a job on site, you get to know each other very well. We know we can count on each other.

“The first year and a half, I was assigned to do welding jobs. Together with colleague Wouter, we drove across the Netherlands for various jobs. Then the opportunity arose to become a foreman and I seized that opportunity.”

The Egypt Project: Installing 2,000 Metres of Rails on the Dock
Sebastiaan: “In 2008, Bemo needed someone for a project in Egypt. I didn’t know much about the country, but I was asked and I went; it was my first international project. The project site was located only three hours from Cairo and I was shocked when I arrived. I really hadn’t expected the difference in culture to be so significant! The project was led by a Chinese company and the working methods and conditions were different compared to what I was used to in the Netherlands. Communication was difficult at times.

Egypt installing 2,000 metres of Rails on the Dock

“The project involved installing 2,000 metres of rails on the dock. We had to install 250 metres in each phase; around 1,500 people worked on that same piece of 250 metres. Every time we finished 250 metres of rails, this was handed over to the terminal and a container crane was put on the rail immediately. It was a battlefield! Nowadays, this kind of practices do not exist anymore, and I have never experienced anything like it again. I certainly learned to stand up for myself! It was tough, but we made it work. We finished the job and I am proud of that!

“There were quite a few tensions in Egypt at the time. The locals warned me that it was not safe and that I might have to leave. I remember thinking ‘they are exaggerating’. But I was wrong, because in 2009 the war began in Egypt and I was still there. The hotel next to us was on fire, we heard guns, there had been an outbreak in prison and thousands of men were rioting in the streets. Our hotel was guarded by tanks and the cook made Molotov cocktails from beer bottles from the bar to protect us. We waited for a quiet moment to leave. Two days later, that moment arrived: it was a bit quieter and we left with all the foreigners present in a column of 3 cars. When we arrived in Cairo, we were surrounded by a crowd with shotguns and bats. They were locals protecting their properties. Fortunately, they saw we were foreigners, let us pass and we were able to get to the airport. Bemo managed to arrange a ticket for me and I have never been so happy to be home again in my life!”

Port Said Egypt

Hong Kong Cruise Terminal:
Sebastiaan: “The next project was in Hong Kong. The first time I went there for four and a half months; it was a project in a Cargo Terminal at the airport. We installed a unique earthquake-proof rail system on seven floors. Shortly after, in January, we had the chance to do a second project in Hong Kong, this time for a Cruise Terminal. We laid rails commissioned by a Spanish company. In addition to work, leisure time in Hong Kong was also unique. It is a diverse and international city and I had a fantastic time there! I remember going to a “Rugby 7” match with a group of colleagues and acquaintances; we were able to get cheap tickets at the door. We had seats right behind the goal and I caught a ball. It was broadcast on TV! It was such a unique experience and the atmosphere was great!”

Hong Kong Cruise Terminal

Sebastiaan: “I spent a year and a half in Tangier to oversee the construction of a port rail system. We helped build the largest container terminal in Africa there. This project was the icing on the cake. What Bemo does is very special, and the confidence Bemo has always placed in my abilities is also very special. Just like my colleagues, I am always ready and willing to take on any challenge. I went to Morocco with colleagues Mark and Marcel and it was great. Sometimes lonely, too, but the experience helped shape me. I am very proud of that project.

Sebastiaan in Tanger, Marocco.

Sebastiaan: “I think that in the coming years we will become even bigger and better than we already are. I want to continue to use my experience to take the projects on site to a higher level.”