Labeled as the project of the century for the German metropolitan region, the Rhine-Ruhr express (RRX) will help alleviate the continuously worsening transportation issues along the Rhine and Ruhr from 2018. The municipalities involved in the new RRX rail transport concept commissioned Siemens to supply 82 electric multiple units, type Desiro HC, and to provide maintenance services for a period of 32 years. With a total volume of more than 1.7 billion euros, this is the largest regional rail service order in Germany so far for Siemens.
RhineRuhr Express.(Siemens Press Picture)
The region is one of the largest conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately ten million and numerous transit routes. On the main section between Cologne and Dortmund in particular, mobility has been heavily restricted for years now by overstretched public transport networks and train connections. Through a targeted extension of the railway network and the shift of traffic from road to rail this enables, the RRX is expected to replace roughly 31,000 individual car trips every working day. The first RRX trains are scheduled to travel in the Rhine-Ruhr region with a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour at the end of 2018. During rush hours the eventual target is one train every 15 minutes.
Siemens officially opens RRX maintenance depot
- Rail Service Center inaugurated in Dortmund-Eving, Germany
- Digitalized service and maintenance of RXX trainsets for 32 years
- Contract specifies over 99 percent availability of RRX trains
Today, after one-and-a-half years of construction, Siemens Mobility is officially inaugurating the new maintenance depot for the Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX). In the future, 75 employees in the Rail Service Center in Dortmund-Eving will service and maintain the 82 electric RXX Desiro HC multiple-unit trains for a period of 32 years. The digitalized and paperless concept ensures that the trains’ contractually agreed availability of over 99 percent can be guaranteed.
Martin Husmann, CEO of Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR), also speaking on behalf of the other rapid transit associations participating in the RRX project – Westphalia-Lippe (NWL), Rhineland (NVR), Rhineland Palatinate North (SPNV-Nord) and North Hesse (NVV) – stated:
“I am especially pleased for the passengers, because today’s opening marks a further step into the future. Over the coming years, we’ll be creating a substantially improved mobility offering for the roughly 2.7 million people who use the regional rapid transit rail network every day. We expect the new facility in Dortmund will make a decisive contribution toward guaranteeing the best possible availability of the new trains.”
Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said:
“With our digitalized service and maintenance, we see ourselves as a pioneer in the industry and will make certain that the RRX trains are reliably available to passengers. To ensure this, we’ve equipped the Rail Service Center and the trains with the latest diagnostic systems that enable us to detect faults before they can actually interfere with operations.”
For this purpose, Siemens Mobility has laid around 5.5 kilometers of tracks on the grounds of the former Dortmund-Eving marshalling yard and provided a six-track workshop building, a three-story warehouse and staff facility, a gatehouse building, outside storage areas and a facility for washing the trains. All maintenance processes can be managed completely without paperwork: Employees are provided with their work orders, along with all the information they need for repairs and maintenance, on tablets. While in service, the trains continuously deliver data on their status via multiple sensors to the depot, where it is processed.
Each train generates between one and four billion data points per year. Using intelligent algorithms, data experts at Siemens Mobility analyze the data for each critical component on the train. The objective is to detect any deviations from normal conditions in order to calculate error predictions and provide workshop technicians with recommendations for acute service or routine scheduled maintenance. With this information, necessary measures can be planned and prepared before the train arrives at the depot. This way, spare parts can be right at hand and the employees’ work can be optimally coordinated. This ensures that the time trains spend in the depot is as short and efficiently utilized as possible so they can be quickly returned to service.
The RRX workshop also has a state-of-the-art vehicle inspection system (AVI) which is being used for the first time in Germany. As the trains enter the workshop grounds, they pass the AVI facility where the wheels, axles and tread patterns of each car are automatically inspected using modern laser technology. This data is directly entered in the data management system, evaluated and further processed. In addition, the workshop has a high-performance 3D printer that quickly and directly makes plastic spare parts that would otherwise not be available on short notice or at low cost.
In March 2015, the rapid transit associations participating in the new RRX rail transport concept commissioned Siemens Mobility to deliver 82 Desiro HC electric multiple-unit trains and provide their servicing and maintenance for a period of 32 years. The order, worth a total of more than €1.7 billion, is the largest Siemens has received to date in the sector of regional rail transport in Germany.