Hot on the rail

Turkish business YAPIRAY is a pioneer for the railway industry with its exceptional operation that continues to lay down sturdy and dependable tracks

Established in 1998, YAPIRAY considers itself to be Turkey’s key multifunctional rail systems company. The business provides solutions for turnkey projects, maintenance and repair of current lines, high-engineering designs, as well as manufacturing concrete sleepers, prestressed concrete bearers, metro blocks and prefabricated slab tracks ‘PST’ all under its in-house brand, RAYTON.

“Prior to 1998, we were a railway department that stems from our parent company, Yapi Merkezi Construction. Following our work with Izmir Metro, Yapi Merkezi established YAPIRAY in order to serve the railway sector as a specialist track work business,” says General Manager, Volkan Okur Yilmaz. “We won our first major contract with Bursa Metro, and then began to work for Turkish State Railway. As the rail network around the world continues to grow, we are pushing to expand our business, and refine our operation,” he informs us.

YAPIRAY produced over three million pieces of sleepers and one thousand pieces of prefabricated slab track and has laid over 5500 kilometers of single line track to date, with an additional 1000 kilometers for high speed trains. “To keep up the rate at which we work, we have our own design team that provides the best bespoke solutions for our clients. They have assisted with a prefabricated slab track solution that has been, for example, designed for Istanbul New Airport Metro line, and custom-made to fit the client’s requirement.”

Typical clients of the business include main contractors, and public railway operators. “As we are a track work specialist, we serve our clients in ways that are beneficial and cost-effective, and of course to the highest engineering quality,” Volkan says.

As far as the company’s infrastructure and international presence is concerned, Volkan shares that the business has laid down tracks from Europe to Africa. “We’ve worked in countries such as Algeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Senegal, and have exported our products as far as Bulgaria and New Guinea. In addition to the three branch offices we already have, we also have two factories, with one under construction, abroad,” he says.

With this level of infrastructure, the company has curated an extensive catalogue of projects, some of which have presented greater challenges than others. “The most important one that I can think of is the Istanbul New Airport Metro project. Even during Covid-19, we produced the prefabricated slabs, and installed 70 kilometres of single line track in nine months. It was a particularly difficult task, because we worked in tunnels where the stations were about three kilometres away from us, making it difficult to feed the concrete. However, with our new prefabricated slab track design and track laying machine, we now have the capability to execute this sort of job successfully.”

In terms of more recent developments, the company has been closely involved in prefabricated slab track and prefabricated walk way solutions. According to Volkan, YAPIRAY is now working tirelessly to solve existing old tunnel track changes from a ballasted to ballastless track, all whilst under traffic, for gaining more clearance and using the maintenance free track system inside the tunnel at the end.

Getting this sort of job done would not be possible without the YAPIRAY team, and Volkan shares that open communication between his staff and clients is crucial to its success. “YAPIRAY attributes a large portion of its excellent working relations to a transparent company culture. We work to encourage an atmosphere that does not shy away from learning from our mistakes. Errors can happen, but we feel it is important to be honest about them when they do occur, and to learn from them in order to improve, and offer better solutions for our clients,” he expresses.

With a tightly-knit team, the company was able to continue its operations during the pandemic, despite supply chain issues. “We faced difficulties regarding our production, especially when the prices increased. As a result, we were forced to slow down our projects, but we made sure that our operations continued to run, despite these challenges, and supported our team in whatever way we could.

“I felt that the most important development that came out of 2020 was the fact that we moved online. Since then, we have been able to host a greater number of meetings virtually and safely, which has been more cost effective.”

Now, the business is looking ahead with a determination to continue executing projects to the highest quality. As Volkan states, the challenges that came with the pandemic are beginning to settle down, and he is hopeful that YAPIRAY will be able to contribute to the development of rail tracks across the world. “We are now focusing on doing more rehabilitation projects, which I feel are needed, particularly in developing countries across Eastern Europe and Africa.

“As a company that places a substantial value on our team and customers, we will focus on providing the best solutions for our railway track systems to ensure that safety and quality are at the forefront of our projects,” he concludes.

Services: Sleepers and slab tracks manufacturer