In the next few years, Deutsche Bahn plans to invest more than 1.4 billion euros in the expansion of parking facilities and factories for operational maintenance in Germany. “The quality is made in the infrastructure and in the factories,” said Berthold Huber, the board member for passenger transport, of the German press agency. “That’s why we said, first of all, we want to invest in more and new vehicles. But then we also need significantly more maintenance capacities.”
At a total of eleven locations in Germany and Switzerland, capacities are to be expanded for so-called light maintenance. This involves maintenance close to operations in order to make the trains fit again within a few hours for operation the next day or to prepare new vehicles for initial operation.
Deutsche Bahn is investing the largest share with 400 million euros in Nuremberg, where a completely new maintenance facility is to be built by 2028. “Nürnberg is very suitable for us geographically and in terms of circulation,” said Huber. “That’s why we want to build a new plant there.” The parking facilities there will also be expanded for a further 20 million euros.
More than 1000 new employees
More than 270 million euros will flow into the expansion of the maintenance capacities there by 2026 to Berlin, and around 225 million euros to Frankfurt / Main by 2030. “We now want to do everything we can to ensure that people realize after the pandemic: traveling by train is much smarter than getting back in the car,” said Huber. “In order to maintain new vehicles, we also have to adapt and convert some plants.” In addition, Deutsche Bahn intends to hire more than 1,000 additional employees for the plants in the coming years.
In addition to operational maintenance, Deutsche Bahn also invests in heavy maintenance. The trains are maintained much more thoroughly over several weeks in order to prepare them for the TÜV, for example. The most prominent construction site will be the new maintenance facility in Cottbus, in which the federal government and the railways are investing around one billion euros. A new ICE hall for heavy maintenance of the ICE 4 is planned at the location of today’s Cottbus railway works. Around 1100 new jobs and 100 training positions are to be created there by 2026.
Long-distance fleet grows significantly
The investment in maintenance is necessary due to the planned fleet expansion in long-distance rail transport. The ICE 3 fleet (BR 403, 406 and 407) will grow in the coming years from currently 84 to 114 trains; the first new vehicles are scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2022. Deutsche Bahn has invested a billion euros in this alone. In addition, the ICE 4 fleet is growing. The company expects to take over vehicle number 75 in summer 2021, and the delivery of a total of 137 ordered copies should be completed by the end of 2025. 71 ICE 4 trains are already in use, but some of them are only in test mode. Two years in advance, the first ECx passengers are to be carried on selected routes.
Billions should not only flow into rolling stock and its maintenance infrastructure. Deutsche Bahn also wants to invest in the railways. By 2030, the company and the federal government want to spend 86 billion euros to maintain them. Together with the costs for new, required personnel – including technicians, planners and experts for tenders – as well as the planned expenditure for the expansion of digitization, the investments will increase to 156 billion euros by 2030.