A “green” plant – environmentally friendly maintenance depot in planning

11-30-2020 – 07:38

Coal is on its way out, and the railroad is on the rise: Deutsche Bahn’s largest, most modern, and most environmentally friendly maintenance depot will create hundreds of new jobs in Brandenburg, Germany in the long term.

Plans for the new maintenance depot in Cottbus, Germany

Germany is going to phase out coal-based power generation by 2038 at the latest. That is good for climate protection, and Deutsche Bahn is playing a very specific role in shaping this structural change. Together with his colleague from the Management Board for Digitalization and Technology, Sabina Jeschke, Deutsche Bahn’s Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure Ronald Pofalla presented the plans for the new maintenance depot in Cottbus and additional multi-billion-euro infrastructure projects for the region Lusatia in Brandenburg, Germany on September 17.

“The examples in Brandenburg and Saxony illustrate the historic dimension of the structural change and the railroad’s role as an important factor especially clearly: in Cottbus, we are going to create the most modern maintenance depot in Europe and 1,200 new jobs. And we are going to expand all the main railway routes in Lusatia. This will mean more and faster connections from the region in all directions: to the German metropolitan areas as well as nearby Poland,” is how he, on that day, indirectly formulated the tasks for our designers and construction supervisors as well in the years to come.

Planning is already in full swing

At the new depot in Cottbus, artificial intelligence, sensor technology, and robots that cooperate and communicate with employees are going to be used to revolutionize existing processes, which will raise the ICE maintenance capacities to a new level. After all, that is the only way to achieve the integrated regular-interval timetable for Germany that is supposed to connect German’s major cities at half-hours intervals in the future. This is where the heavy maintenance is performed on electric railcars and where ICE trains are serviced, repaired, and modernized. The Cottbus depot will also be the only one in Germany where maintenance is performed on hybrid vehicles. The DB Center for Hybrid Research will move into the administration and technology center, as will a training and service center with training workshops.

DB Engineering & Consulting has a good reputation in facility planning thanks to many projects. It most recently served as the overall design coordinator for the Cologne-Nippes ICE facility. This was confirmed by the fact that the feasibility study and the basic evaluation for the Cottbus depot were awarded to the experienced planning team headed by project manager Rüdiger Almeroth in our Berlin office. Bids for further planning stages are being submitted to the construction project owner DB Fahrzeuginstandhaltung GmbH.

Concerning this, Rüdiger Almeroth says, “The heart of the project is the maintenance hall for ICE 4 and other types of multiple units; it is 522 m long and 100 m wide. In addition, both the necessary workshops and warehouses and the required infrastructure for tracks and roads are being planned. We are planning the project entirely using the BIM method.”

Environmentally friendly and innovative energy concept for “green” plant

An innovative energy concept is supposed to be implemented for the new “green” plant. Therefore, in addition to photovoltaics, the use of geothermal energy and hydrogen to produce energy is therefore being examined. The buildings will have retention roofs*. Rainwater is collected, stored, and then used as service water. Building automation featuring an “intelligent” power grid (smart grid) is a high priority. The intralogistics at the depot is supposed to be organized using driverless transport systems.

The multicopter survey, which was used to record the future construction site and the existing buildings, was used to create a flight overview on the web interface Pix4D BIM so the data provisioned could be displayed and used more easily. “It is possible to switch among the different flight sections within the web interface. In the application, markers can be set in the point cloud and in the orthomosaic featuring a stored elevation model (DOM); distances, areas, and volumes can be measured; and cross-sections of the profile can be easily created, divided, and checked,” says Philipp Knötzsch from our Dresden office while explaining the advantages of Pix4D BIM.

The ground exploration is presently underway, as is the contamination assessment and evaluation of the existing buildings for which there are demolition plans. There are three contaminated sites in the future construction area; separate treatment of these sites has already begun in a preliminary measure. The supplementary terrestrial surveying work for the connections to existing track systems will be carried out in the near future.

* Retention roofs are green roofs whose purpose is to retain water, delay runoff, improve the climate, create a cooling effect, and minimize the emissions of the underlying building surfaces.


Natalie Kendzia
Head of
Marketing & Communications
DB Engineering & Consulting
Torgauer Straße 12-15
10829 Berlin
E-Mail+49 30 297-69901

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