GERMANY: The foundation stone for the Rhein-Ruhr-Express maintenance depot was laid in Dortmund-Eving on March 7. Siemens is building the 70 000 m2 facility on the site of a former marshalling yard on the Dortmund – Lünen main line.

A 163 m long, 63 m wide and 12·4 m high six-track maintenance hall is being built, along with a warehouse, administrative and staff welfare building and an outdoor train cleaning facility. There will be around 5·5 km of track in total, as well as an underfloor wheel lathe and wheelset diagnostics system. According to Siemens, the facility will use around 15% less energy than the recommended standard set by the European Energy Saving Ordinance.

Siemens signed a €1·7bn contract in March 2015 to supply and maintain for 32 years 82 Desiro HC electric multiple-units for RRX services which are to be operated by Abellio and National Express from December 2018. Testing of the new trains is expected to begin in mid-2018.

Each Desiro HC set will have two single-deck driving cars and two double-deck intermediate vehicles; most RRX routes will be operated by two sets in multiple. Siemens says that it will ensure train availability of nearly 99% through predictive maintenance, with real-time vehicle data analysed at the Siemens Mobility Data Services Centre in München.

The six-route RRX network will connect the main cities of the region, including Köln, Leverkusen, Düsseldorf, Duisburg, Bochum, Dortmund and Bielefeld, with some services extending as far as Koblenz.