Maintenance workshops are key driver for rail success

Posted: 26 March 2009 | | No comments yet

Arriva Deutschland has an increasingly visible presence on the German rail network with trains travelling millions of kilometres per year and moving tens of thousands of people each day. The unseen driving force behind this success is Arriva’s network of rail workshops which ensures our fleets are ready for service every day.

Arriva Deutschland has an increasingly visible presence on the German rail network with trains travelling millions of kilometres per year and moving tens of thousands of people each day. The unseen driving force behind this success is Arriva's network of rail workshops which ensures our fleets are ready for service every day.

Arriva Deutschland has an increasingly visible presence on the German rail network with trains travelling millions of kilometres per year and moving tens of thousands of people each day. The unseen driving force behind this success is Arriva’s network of rail workshops which ensures our fleets are ready for service every day.

Getting more than 210 trains into service and making sure they are maintained and ready to meet the daily needs of a busy timetable is a challenge which we, like many other rail operators, have to face.

Arriva Deutschland ensures its rail businesses, Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen (OHE), Prignitzer Eisenbahn GmbH (PEG), and Regentalbahn AG – Die Länderbahn (RAG), which together serve 10 German states, are supported by modern workshops facilities and skilled engineers that can deliver quality servicing and maintenance programmes.
Working as part of European transport group Arriva plc, Arriva Deutschland has established itself in a relatively short time period as one of Germany’s largest private transport service providers and as the largest private rail operator. With a turnover of almost €320 million in 2007, nearly 32 million train kilometres, as well as 56 million bus kilometres per year, we operate comprehensive road and rail passenger and cargo services.

Thanks to the combined experience of our regional operating companies, Arriva Deutschland has established a reputation with our stakeholders as a business which focuses on its customers, which includes passengers, tendering authorities and other transport companies.

A significant part of the continued success of Arriva’s German rail operations can be attributed to our servicing and maintenance facilities. We have three rail maintenance businesses – Regental Fahrzuegwerkstätten-Gmbh, OHE and Arriva Werke Nord GmbH (AWN) – and 12 different rail workshops servicing Arriva trains, other operators and rolling stock leasing companies. This part of Arriva Deutschland’s business has developed and continues to provide us with new opportunities.

Regental Fahrzeugwerkstätten (Regental Workshops)

Regental Fahrzeugwerkstätten GmbH (RFG) was created in 1989 as a subsidiary of RAG’s train operation which provides services in Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony, and cross-border trains into the Czech Republic in co-operation with the Czech state railway. It has three main workshops, Schwandorf and Viechtach in Bavaria, and Neumark in Saxony.


Our Schwandorf workshop opened in late 2007 after the launch of the Arriva-Länderbahn-Express (alex) operation which provides north-south passenger services in Bavaria and services to Prague.

Schwandorf, situated between Nuremberg and Regensburg, is Arriva’s newest and most state-of-the-art rail maintenance facility in Germany. Built with support from the Bavarian State, it has the capacity to manage large fleets. It is currently home to the extensive alex fleet, consisting of 11 ER 20 diesel locomotives and four Siemens ES 64 electric locomotives as well as 65 single decker coaches.

In addition to alex, Schwandorf maintains Arriva Deutschland’s Oberpfalzbahn GmbH fleet of 11 RS 1 DMUs from Stadler.

The workshop is primarily focused on light maintenance, including preventive and corrective work. It has four service tracks totalling 240 metres, four maintenance pits up to 58 metres in length with elevated tracks (with a total length of 217 metres), a five-tonne crane, a separately housed 70 metre wash line and two external holding tracks for providing 200 metres of parking. It is also fitted with a special exhaust ventilation system which makes it possible for us to carry out thorough tests on diesel vehicles inside the workshop.

The opening of Schwandorf was a positive development for our employees providing an improved working environment, new engineering equipment and a facility that has the ability and expertise to expand into maintenance contract work beyond Arriva’s own operational requirements.


Situated 10 kilometres southwest of Zwickau in the Vogtland region of Saxony is our modern Neumark facility, offering 4,060m2 of maintenance area. Built as an EXPO 2000 project, the imposing facility stands out with its sleek DMU-shaped sky-lights running axially the length of the workshop. Neumark is a servicing point for two large DMU fleets – 18 RegioSprinter DMUs and the 23 Desiro DMUs from Siemens which operate as part of Arriva’s Vogtlandbahn GmbH rail business.

At Neumark, our main focus is light maintenance, including preventive and corrective work. Our engineering team at Neumark is also experienced in dealing with preventive maintenance for diesel locomotives. The workshop has four service tracks totalling 350 metres, three maintenance pits up to 55 metres in length, five-tonne and 15-tonne cranes, a paint line and wash line (45 metres), an external holding track for parking (100 metres) and a Hegenscheidt under floor wheel lathe for profiling.

Our modern facilities and highly skilled technicians in Neumark ensure efficient fleet performance for our local Vogtlandbahn-GmbH. Moreover our team is proud of its core competency in maintaining Desiro fleets, which is something Arriva intends to use going forward for attracting future external work.


Our Viechtach workshop is the oldest facility within RFG dating back to the 1920s. Located in the Bavarian Woods region, it differs from Neumark and Schwandorf as we are able to provide both light and heavy maintenance for our fleet, including general inspections in accordance with German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) requirements and complete vehicle overhaul programmes.
The main role of the workshop is to service 14 RS1 DMU’s which are used to operate Arriva Deutschland’s Waldbahn GmbH rail business which operates between Plattling, Bayerisch Eisenstein and Grafenau in the scenic Bavarian Woods region.

Over the years, we have developed this workshop, and its team, to become a centre for excellence in bogie refurbishment. To date, it has been instrumental in the refurbishment of Desiro bogies from our Neumark site as well as RS1 and coach bogies from our Schwandorf facility.

Viechtach has three service tracks totalling 180 metres, three maintenance pits totalling 114 metres, a 25-tonne crane, paint and wash line and a 100 metre external holding track for trains.

Through these three workshops, Arriva has built its RFG operation into a business with a wide range of core competencies and strong skill base that will undoubtedly open the door to new opportunities in the wider German rail market in the years ahead.

Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen AG (OHE)

In early 2007, Arriva acquired a majority stake in OHE, a shareholder in rail company metronom which operates four franchises in Lower Saxony. As part of the business we manage three workshops – Uelzen, Celle and Bleckede.


Uelzen is strategically positioned on the mainline rail network midway between Hannover and Hamburg and is the primary service point for our metronom fleet comprising 27 E-locomotives (BR146.1 and BR146.2) and 115 Bombardier double-decker coaches. In addition, the facility performs preventive and corrective maintenance on a number of the OHE cargo locomotives, including five diesel electric Blue Tigers and seven electric Traxx locomotives (Class BR 185).

The workshop was commissioned in December 2003 in conjunction with the inauguration of the metronom regional rail services in Lower Saxony. Comprising five service tracks totalling 600 metres, six maintenance pits totalling 500 metres, five-tonne and 17-tonne cranes, a paint line, a Hegenscheidt Mobiturn wheel lathe for profiling and four external holding tracks for parking totalling 4,000 metres, Ulzen continues to satisfy the demanding requirements of a large modern regional rail service.

Celle and Bleckede

Celle, a 20 minute train ride from Hannover Central Station with our metronom regional service, is home to our OHE headquarters as well as to an OHE maintenance workshop which specialises in preventive and corrective maintenance of internal OHE cargo locomotives.

Celle has 10 service tracks totalling 170 metres, 10 maintenance pits totalling 280 metres, 10-tonne and 12-tonne cranes and seven external holding tracks for parking totalling 1,000 metres.

Among the locomotives regularly maintained in Celle are our small fleet of Siemens ER 20s and a number of our Vossloh G2000s and G1700s.

In addition to our essential internal work for Arriva Deutshland’s rail businesses, Celle also has a strong track record in refurbishing specialised rail track machines for numerous external customers.

Leading infrastructure company Schweerbau KG, based in Stadthagen, has taken advantage of the skills and facilities available at Celle to complete general inspections and major overhauls of its various track laying and rail treatment vehicles for grinding and milling.

Our smaller Bleckede site, some 20 kilometres southeast of Hamburg near Lüneburg, provides refurbishment services for motors (MTU, MaK, KHD), gearboxes (Voith), and wheel sets.

Arriva Werke Nord GmbH

Arriva Werke Nord GmbH (AWN) is the third and perhaps most unique of our German rail maintenance businesses.
Working as part of the group’s PE Arriva operation, AWN is located in Neustrelitz in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, north of Berlin.

It is the largest Arriva workshop in Germany for major overhauls and refurbishments. In addition to this core business, the workshop performs preventive maintenance as well as general inspection work in accordance with German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) requirements.

AWN dates back to the 1970s when it was created as a major repair shop for the Deutsche Reichsbahn. It has 12 service tracks totalling 324 metres, 12 maintenance pits, three cranes with capacity between eight and 32 tonnes, an electrical testing station for harmonising motor and traction generator performance, a wheel set load measuring station, a Hegenscheidt under floor wheel lathe for profiling and a paint line.

Today, nearly 80% of our capacity is directed at refurbishments for external customers, including Angel Trains, Deutsche Bahn, Veolia, and several other smaller operators.

We also pride ourselves on carrying out restoration of vintage rail vehicles as well as modernisation and re-motorisation work. A classic example is the recent modernisation and re-motorisation of eight 1960s Kraus-Maffei diesel hydraulic Class V200.1 locomotives. We successfully turned around each vehicle in this large-scale rework in six to eight months.

AWN continues to successfully assist Angel Trains by providing general inspection work on a number of G1206 locomotives from MAK, now known as Vossloh.

Perhaps the most interesting development is our recent co-operation with Siemens which sees us completing final assembly of its ER 20 (Eurorunner) locomotive at Neustrelitz. AWN receives the ER 20 body shells from Siemens and our skilled production crew carry out the pre and final assembly, including painting. This is an exciting addition to our engineering repertoire and demonstrates our ability to successfully grow our business and contribute to the wider German rail industry.

In addition to Arriva’s RFG, OHE and ANW businesses, we also operate a further five workshops in Germany – Parchim, Görlitz, Eberswalde, Meyenburg and Mülheim.

In north east Germany, Parchim, Görlitz and Eberswalde serve our ODEG rail operations and Meyenburg maintains Arriva’s PEG train services. Our Mülheim workshop services a large fleet of Talent DMUs operated by PEG in Northrheine-Westphalia. Our engineering teams at these depots have extensive skills in delivering maintenance programmes for ODEG and PEG’s trains which operate on B100 biodiesel.

Arriva’s workshops and the future

With 12 workshops working on a variety of fleets we can provide our businesses, and external customers, with a 300-strong engineering staff equipped with a broad skill-set. This also presents us with an opportunity to share best practice in our operations.

In 2008, we launched AMOS – the Arriva Maintenance Operations System – a major improvement initiative with the goal of integrating the various rail maintenance sites in Germany through common processes.

AMOS builds on recognised process management tools such Lean and 5S (sort, systematise, shine, standardise, and self discipline) as a way to better manage our workspace and work flow with the intent of improving efficiency through waste elimination. Value stream analysis is another key tool in our AMOS tool kit helping us to visualise current and target processes with the goal of reducing cycle times not only within the workshop, but across the critical interfaces with operations. Also as part of AMOS, Arriva Deutschland is promoting its full service maintenance packages to other major operators and leasing companies.

We know our business can only continue to grow and succeed through its people so we are also investing in the future. We have professional mechanical and electrical apprenticeships in place and our existing staff have access to high quality training which will provide the skills needed to contribute to our business.

This approach will increase the overall strength of our workforce and ensure we are ready to meet future business needs – especially new external maintenance opportunities – without compromising the key priority of delivering excellent availability and reliability for Arriva’s fleets in Germany.

Our co-ordinated approach to our managing workshops means we are well placed to take forward future external contract opportunities while working with our operations colleagues to ensure Arriva Deutschland’s rail businesses continue to deliver efficient and high performing train services for our customers.

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