In the process of heavy maintenance, trains are partially disassembled, and major components such as drive motors or bogies are replaced. This can be done in the new facility, which is specifically tailored for the ICE 4, in just about two weeks – faster than in any other DB facility. The nearly 450-meter-long workshop hall can accommodate the 374-meter-long XXL ICE trains with 13 cars and 918 seats in their full length. Two of the shorter, seven-part ICE trains, each about 200 meters long, can stand back to back on the two maintenance tracks. Unlike in other facilities, the trains do not need to be split for maintenance. Employees can work on all cars simultaneously. Another hall with a total of four tracks is already under construction on the site and is expected to be operational by 2026.
Highly modern technology and automation in the facility ensure more efficient and simpler workflows, speeding up maintenance processes and easing the burden on employees: The two maintenance tracks are elevated, making the side flaps and wheelsets of the trains easily accessible. Specially developed bogie changers are embedded in the workshop floor. With these, the heavy bogies can be moved out sideways from under the train for further processing.
Employees in Cottbus can identify parts and components via an app and order them to their working location on the train. Augmented reality glasses enable technicians and engineers from other locations to participate in work in Cottbus, with tips and instructions immediately displayed in their field of vision. This ensures that the trains are quickly and reliably ready for service in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
The significantly earlier commissioning of the ICE workshop than originally planned is due to various factors: DB AG has implemented a new, cooperative procedure (Rail Partnership Model) for planning and realization, ensuring fast process development, team-oriented action among partners, and short coordination paths. Furthermore, all participants have worked closely and constructively in the necessary coordination for the approval processes. The task force set up in the State Chancellery, led by Prime Minister Woidke and DB board member Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, also contributed to this.