Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group joins as an implementation partner

Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group joins as an implementation partner

Chancellor Scholz and DB CEO Lutz open Germany's most modern maintenance facility in Cottbus.


New workshop hall built in record speed • Cottbus facility supports the transport transition with additional maintenance capacities • DB creates 1,200 new industrial jobs and training positions in Lusatia

Cottbus/Bregenz, January 11, 2024 - Deutsche Bahn (DB) keeps its promise: Less than 20 months after the groundbreaking, and thus in record time, DB today officially inaugurated the new ICE maintenance facility in Cottbus. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dr. Dietmar Woidke, and DB CEO Dr. Richard Lutz jointly opened the nearly 450-meter-long workshop hall, where the heavy maintenance of DB's ICE 4 fleet will take place. The Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group played a key role, being responsible, along with partners, for the traffic facilities, civil engineering, railway technical equipment, and medium voltage supply.

The ICE 4 is the backbone of Deutsche Bahn's long-distance service, with 137 of these trains ordered by DB. As part of its corporate strategy 'Strong Rail,' DB is continuously expanding its ICE fleet. By the end of the decade, around 450 ICE trains of various series are expected to be in operation. More trains also require increased maintenance capacity. With innovative technology, the new Cottbus facility ensures that trains are quickly back on track, enabling more people to travel in an environmentally friendly and comfortable manner, and supporting the transport transition in Germany.

“The ‘New Cottbus Facility’ sets standards for major projects throughout Germany. Deutsche Bahn has erected a demanding construction in the shortest possible time. This is what I mean when I talk about our new Germany pace. Deutsche Bahn has bravely embarked on something new, the ‘Rail Partnership Model.’ The cooperation between Deutsche Bahn and LEAG for the ‘New Facility’ is also an excellent example of how it works: Even as jobs change, good jobs remain here. Deutsche Bahn also came to Cottbus because it can and wants to draw on the experiences and qualifications of the people in Brandenburg.”
Olaf Scholz
“The new Cottbus facility is a central component for further expanding our service and indispensable for Strong Rail and the transport transition. In Germany's most modern maintenance facility, highly qualified employees ensure that the ICE 4 is quickly back in operation for our passengers. We are also creating attractive jobs in the region, contributing to a successful structural change. Already, the Cottbus facility is a beacon of progress and renewal in our country. And we are continuing this success story with the construction of the second hall.”
Richard Lutz
CEO Deutsche Bahn
“The launch of the railway workshop is a great milestone for strengthening the structure of our Lusatia. I am delighted that we have managed to keep our promise in a joint effort in the shortest possible time: We are creating new and future-proof jobs before the coal phase-out. I am very grateful for this, as it also strengthens confidence in the promises of politics. Our persistence during the negotiations on the coal compromise is paying off: Now many jobs are secured in the middle of the city. The new building shows that Lusatia is developing into an outstanding location for innovative technologies. I am particularly pleased that the railway is also exceptionally committed to training young people here in cooperation with LEAG. This project also shows that short planning, approval, and implementation times are possible in Germany when all participants have a goal and all wheels mesh together. This Brandenburg pace should become the standard.”
Dietmar Woidke
Prime minister of Brandenburg
“We are very proud to have contributed here in Cottbus to today's commissioning of the ‘New Cottbus Facility’ as an internationally active complete provider in the railway infrastructure sector. We have managed to ensure that the first train could enter the newly built maintenance hall on time. This is the result of efficient and fruitful cooperation of all alliance partners, to whom we would like to express our gratitude for the good cooperation at this point. This is how it can and will continue.”
Konrad Schnyder
President Owner Board of the Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group

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.

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