A new era of climate-friendly drives begins in Ortenau

After only one-and-a-half years of construction, Siemens Mobility is opening a new railway workshop in Offenburg together with Südwestdeutsche Landesverkehrs-GmbH (SWEG).

A new era of climate-friendly drives begins in Ortenau
June 29, 2023 5:46 pm

The new, modern depot will be used to maintain the Siemens Mireo Plus B battery-powered trains that are expected to enter service in the Network 8 “Ortenau” as of mid-December 2023 – a first in Germany. SWEG will lease the depot to Siemens Mobility for 30 years from June 2023. As part of the opening ceremony today, the Mireo Plus B also took its first public test run on the route between Offenburg and Gengenbach. In addition, Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann and SWEG CEOs Tobias Harms and Dr. Thilo Grabo signed the transport contract for Network 8 transferring operation of the network from the state to SWEG for 15 years as of December 10, 2023.

“With this new depot, we have created a new home for sustainable mobility together with SWEG,” said Johannes Emmelheinz, CEO Customer Services at Siemens Mobility. “The completion of the new facility lays the foundation for operating our first battery-powered train fleet in Germany that will provide climate-friendly, local zero-emission passenger transport. Our contract to provide the trains’ maintenance and repairs will ensure reliable and punctual regional rail service over the long term. Our goal is to secure 100-percent availability of the train fleet over its entire lifecycle.”

Minister Hermann stated: “This December we will inaugurate the battery-electric age for regional rail transport in Baden-Württemberg in Ortenau. Passengers will travel comfortably in modern, air-conditioned, and barrier-free trains. The trains will operate emission-free on non-electrified routes and thus make an important contribution to climate protection. With today’s signing of the contract, the state has given SWEG the responsibility of using this innovative technology to bring passengers safely and reliably to their destinations for another 15 years.”

“With the new depot for Siemens, an underfloor lathe, and the existing SWEG workshop, SWEG has created a comprehensive service center for rail vehicles here in Offenburg in just five years that is unique in southern Germany in terms of possibilities and modernity,” explained SWEG CEO Tobias Harms. “There’s nothing to remind one of the historic rail depot that once stood here. With this new facility, Offenburg is truly a railway city again.” He added: “The renewed contract to run the Ortenau S-Bahn operations for another 15 years is further proof of the highly successful development of SWEG into one of the most important mobility groups in the state. I’m especially pleased that we can continue offering our passengers the usual high SWEG quality.”

The new workshop is located near the Offenburg train station in the city’s northeast. Covering an area of 1,350 m2, the depot includes two pit tracks, roof work stands, and a full-length gantry crane. Two outbuildings, 350 m2 and 200 m2 in area, provide space for storage, offices, and social facilities. It was also agreed that Siemens Mobility can use the onsite SWEG infrastructure, such as the outdoor car wash. The depot warehouse can rely on a minimum of stock since Siemens Mobility uses its MoBase e-commerce platform for managing spare parts. With it, required parts can be delivered on demand within 24 hours. Condition-based, predictive maintenance of the trains is made possible by using the cloud-based Siemens Mobility application suite Railigent X. Thanks to its advanced algorithms and data analytics, possible faults are detected before they lead to failures.

In 2020, the Baden-Württemberg State Authority for Rail Vehicles (SFBW) ordered 27 two-car, 120-seat Mireo Plus B battery-powered trains from Siemens Mobility. With their battery hybrid drive, the trains can operate on electrified as well as non-electrified routes. Running on batteries, the Mireo Plus B has a range of around 80 kilometers under real conditions

As of mid-December 2023, Network 8 (“Ortenau”) will include the following routes: Offenburg – Freudenstadt/Hornberg, Offenburg – Bad Griesbach, Offenburg – Achern, Achern – Ottenhöfen, and Biberach (Baden) – Oberharmersbach-Riersbach. The reactivated Hermann Hesse railway between Calw and Renningen is expected to join the network in 2025. Network services currently total around two-and-a-half million train kilometers a year.

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