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Dessau maintenance depot has a full house for its 90th anniversary

On 31 August, at precisely ten o'clock in the morning, the barrier was raised at DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's Dessau maintenance depot. It had invited guests to an open day on the occasion of its 90th anniversary – and they came in impressive numbers.

Alongside railway enthusiasts from the region and beyond, families, technology fans, neighbours and other interested folk came to have a look around. After all, the depot is an institution, and there was so much see and experience on this lovely summer's day.

Some of the biggest and most well-known names from Germany's railway past and present were on show and impressed the crowds during maintenance demonstrations. Modern vehicles such as an ICE powerhead and the Siemens Vectron locomotive, historical vehicles that included a Class E 44 locomotive and Class 188 electric multiple units, and timelessly elegant icons such as the Class 103 Intercity locomotive of yesteryear could all be seen up close. Locomotive rides on the depot's own track network were especially popular. There were lots of great photo opportunities to be had.

A giant dangling overhead

It was just as busy inside the halls. The evening before, the Anhaltische Philharmonie had celebrated the anniversary with festive music rich with timpani and trumpets. Deutsche Bahn AG's CEO Dr Richard Lutz and some of DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's managing directors had front-row seats. The orchestra played overtures and dances from operas and operettas, as well as film music from hits such as Titanic and The Da Vinci Code. Now, on the Saturday, guests watched with interest as maintenance was carried out on locomotives. One of the highlights was seeing an 80-tonne locomotive dangling from a crane.

On a smaller scale, but no less impressive, was a model railway layout where railway operations were running in miniature. For those in need of a rest, there was live music and other entertainments to be enjoyed. The Dessau-Roßlauer Briefmarkenverein offered specially commissioned stamps as a lasting reminder of a successful day. Depot manager Olaf Storeck said: "The anniversary was a real celebration and showed just how important our depot is for the region and for the railway industry. We are proud of our tradition and are optimistic about the future, something which can be seen in our locomotive testing centre, which is unique in Europe."

First point of call for electric locomotives

DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung's Dessau maintenance depot is Germany's number one provider of overhaul and maintenance services for electric locomotives. With around 1,300 employees, it is one of the largest employers in the Dessau-Roßlau region. Every year, the depot repairs and overhauls around 300 electric locomotives belonging to Deutsche Bahn and many other German and international customers. Under construction for several years, the depot was officially put into operation on 2 December 1929. Dessau was chosen as the location for the electric locomotive depot as central Germany already had an electrified railway network at that time.

90 years of Dessau maintenance depot