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DB Announces Groundbreaking for Structural Change: Construction of New Rail Plant in Cottbus Begins

DB Announces Groundbreaking for Structural Change: Construction of New Rail Plant in Cottbus Begins
foto: DB Press Releases/DB announces groundbreaking for structural change: Construction of new rail plant in Cottbus begins
12 / 05 / 2022

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has begun construction of the new rail plant in Cottbus. Today's groundbreaking ceremony marks the construction of the first of what will later be two factory halls. The first ICE 4 trains will be maintained in this hall in just two years. On the construction site, 500 red balloons made the layout of the new workshop visible. They also symbolized the first 500 new jobs and apprenticeships that will be created by 2024.

The project is one of the first and most crucial structural strengthening projects in the Lusatia coal region. Together with the federal government and the state of Brandenburg, DB is supporting the transformation and creating new, high-quality industrial jobs. After the second factory hall completion in 2026, there will be a total of 1,200 new jobs. In the process, DB is relying on digitization and automation: Cottbus will become DB's most modern maintenance plant.

Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor: "The construction of the new rail plant in Cottbus shows how structural change can succeed. Such innovation projects not only create good jobs but also bring new economic strength and future viability to the entire region."

Richard Lutz, Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Bahn: "The new plant in Cottbus is being built at record speed. Today we are breaking ground symbolically - and in just two years, we will be servicing the first ICE 4 trains here. At the same time, we are creating exciting, state-of-the-art jobs in a sector with a promising future. We need this new plant so that our ICE fleet can continue to grow so that more people can travel by rail. It is the only way to achieve our climate targets."

Dietmar Woidke, Minister-President of Brandenburg: "Today sees the start of a beacon project for structural change in Lusatia. Deutsche Bahn and the German government have kept their word. For that, my thanks. This strengthening of the site is a key element in the Lusatia's development into a model region for climate protection and economic growth. Also because up to 1,200 new industrial jobs are being created here. Things are moving forward, especially when you consider that this rail plant was threatened with closure just a few years ago. Offsetting the jobs that are being replaced with new jobs viable for the future is an essential prerequisite for successful structural development in the phase-out of lignite's course. The plant is to go into operation two years earlier than originally planned."

Michael Theurer, Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport: "The rail secures more than half a million jobs in Germany. New technologies with highly qualified jobs are making this environmentally friendly mode of transport increasingly attractive. By clearly focusing on this mode of transport, we are not only actively protecting the climate but also pursuing comprehensive employment and structural policy. This plant is a further positive contribution to structural change in the Lausitz lignite mining region. After all, the investments made here strengthen both the region and rail transport throughout Germany."

As part of the Group's Strong Rail strategy, DB is continuously expanding its ICE fleet. By the end of the decade, around 450 ICE trains will be on the rails. By 2024 alone, the number of ICE 4s will grow from just under 100 at present to 137 vehicles. More trains require more maintenance capacity. The new plant in Cottbus makes a crucial contribution to this and ensures that the trains get back on track quickly and more people can travel in climate-friendly comfort.

The new factory halls are being built on the site in front of the existing DB location in Cottbus. The first hall has two tracks and is 445 meters long; the other half will have four tracks and be 570 meters long. It will make it DB's first facility for heavy maintenance of ICE 4 trains. It involves partially dismantling the trains and replacing heavy components such as bogies.

The special feature of the workshops: The 374-meter-long XXL ICEs with 13 cars and 918 seats can also enter in full length. Of the shorter ICEs, two trains, each around 200 meters long and each with seven cars fit one behind the other on the tracks. It means that employees can work on all the cars simultaneously, which speeds up train maintenance. The overhaul of an ICE 4 with all the necessary work steps is expected to take less than two weeks in the new plant. Previously, such an overhaul of an ICE took up to five weeks.

New: Raised tracks provide ergonomic workplaces in the workshops where employees can easily work on side flaps and wheelsets. Bogie changers specially developed by DB have been inserted into the hall floor. It allows employees to move the bogies out sideways for further processing without heavy lifting. The components can also be changed much more quickly, which means that the trains have to be in the factory for a much shorter time than usual and are back in service for customers much faster.

Investments of EUR 1 billion are planned based on the Coal Regions Investment Act. With this law, the federal and state governments are helping regions affected by the coal phase-out in Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia to create sustainable jobs and new economic structures.

Source: DB Press Releases