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Cottbus to build Europe's most modern railway depot

DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung will soon operate the most modern and environmentally friendly railway maintenance depot in Europe. By 2026, the location of the current maintenance depot in Cottbus will be home to numerous state-of-the-art facilities.

At an event held on 17 September 2020, Prof Sabina Jeschke, Member of the Management Board for Digitalization and Technology at Deutsche Bahn AG, and Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure, unveiled plans for the new maintenance depot in Cottbus. The event was attended by prominent guests and speakers: Olaf Scholz, Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance, Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister of Transport, Dr Dietmar Woidke, Minister-President of Brandenburg, and Michael Kretschmer, Minister-President of Saxony.

The plans involve the construction of two new maintenance sheds: An ICE maintenance shed for heavy maintenance of electric multiple units (ICE 4), where trains will be maintainedrepaired and, if required, rebuilt. The other new maintenance shed will be used to convert diesel vehicles. From 2026, the new maintenance depot in Cottbus will be the only location in Germany to convert diesel trains to hybrid trains and to maintain the converted vehicles. The maintenance depot in Cottbus will also house a new technology and administration centre for experts dedicated to hybrid research. Construction will commence as early as 2023.

The maintenance depot in Cottbus currently employs 420 people and is almost 150 years old. This expansion will create an additional 1,200 top-quality industrial jobs on site, including 100 trainees who will be able to start their careers under ideal conditions.

"This maintenance depot will be more automated and digitally controlled than any other - a true beacon for German engineering", highlights Prof Sabina Jeschke. "Robots, learning machines and artificial intelligence will radically shorten the time spent by ICE trains in the maintenance depot. These vehicles can make a much faster return to the main line, thus ensuring punctual rail operations. The new maintenance depot, which will employ more than twice as many people, represents a huge expansion of our capacities."

"Owing to this extensive expansion of the maintenance depot and the technologies deployed there, the Cottbus location will not only remain the centre of expertise for diesel-hydraulic and diesel-electric vehicles and their components", adds Gorden Falk, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors at DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung, "but it is also preparing itself to deal with future challenges associated with the growth of rail transport. As a result of our Strong Rail strategy, the ICE fleet alone will increase to more than 420 vehicles."

In addition to expanding the railway maintenance depot, the rail infrastructure in the Cottbus region is to be modernised. Among other things, the railway lines from the Lusatian town of Cottbus to Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden and Görlitz will be upgraded, electrified, and made suitable for higher speeds.