The most modern trains in the world come from Krefeld
State-of-the-art trains from Krefeld don’t just run in Germany, but also in Russia, Spain, the UK, Belgium and many other countries in Europe and the rest of the world. The fascinating story of multiple unit train production in Krefeld goes back as far 1898; today Siemens has expanded the location to the most modern railway production site in Europe. The site in Krefeld has a long history dating back to the Imperial Era. Railway carriages were built there over many decades for the Royal Prussian Railways and, after the war, the railbus that was so popular in the 1950’s. But it wasn’t until Siemens took the site over in 2001 that it took a leap into the future. Today the site is Europe’s leading high-tech production site for high-speed trains. The ICx, described by Siemens as “the most modern and environmentally friendly train in the world“, will come from Krefeld in future. This is the biggest order to date in the history of Siemens, which stretches back over 160 years: up to 300 new long-distance ICx trains will be built for Deutsche Bahn. It is scheduled to be on the tracks from 2016 as part of the DB network and then form the backbone of DB‘s long-distance transport.
What this shows is that the future is already here. In the Krefeld factory halls regional and high-speed trains are being built for Russia, the UK, Belgium and for the Eurostar line through the channel tunnel. More than 450 railcar bodies, or 100 trains in total, are produced every year in the factory. The capacity is 650 railcar bodies, as factory manager Ulrich Semsek explains. Trains by Siemens Krefeld became the flagship trains of the Russian railways. The Siemens Velaro RUS high-speed trains travel between Moscow and Saint Petersburg as “Sapsan”, meaning “Peregrine Falcon”. The trains shorten the travel time by an hour and brave the extreme weather conditions from minus to plus 40 degrees Celsius. The multiple unit trains are 250 meters long each and can take 600 passengers.
Production of the ten Velaro Eurostar trains has been running since July 2011. The 16-carriage vehicles are 400 meters long. They will initially be deployed on the Paris-London route, and later Amsterdam-Brussels-London. Overall Siemens has sold more than 300 Velaro multiple unit trains worldwide, including the new ICE 3 for Deutsche Bahn. They all come from Krefeld. At the moment 54 Desiro RUS regional multiple unit trains are being built in the factory halls there for the Russian railways. They are already in use in regional transport in and around St. Petersburg and will also be deployed at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sotschi on the Black Sea coast. Several trains have already been delivered to the customer. They are brought via heavy-load transporters to the Rhine port in Krefeld, where they are taken by ship via Rotterdam to Rügen and from there with a normal railway ferry to St. Petersburg. Because the Russian railways have a wider track gauge for their trains than is customary in central Europe, the trains cannot be put on the tracks in Krefeld. The approval for the running of the trains on the Russian rail network was acquired three months earlier than planned, which means they have been on the regular transport schedule of the Russian railways since the middle of January.
Around 600 railcar bodies are to be produced a year in Krefeld as soon as 2014. That includes – subject to the forthcoming contract signing – 1,200 Desiro City railcars for the Thameslink line, a 225-km-long railway line from Bedford through London to Brighton. In order to keep up with the orders, Siemens is investing tens of millions in Krefeld. New buildings have been built, the existing production halls converted and new machines procured. Additional office buildings and a new logistics centre for receiving material supplies in one place are planned . About 2,400 people work in the factory halls. Siemens has made the most of the attractive location between the cities on the Rhine and the Ruhr region and expanded the Krefeld site to one of the most important competence centres of the railway industry. Training young people is very important to Siemens, and 200 apprentices and internees are trained in Krefeld. The group awards scholarships to the RWTH Aachen University and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Together with the RWTH, Siemens is working on a new railcar body technology and on improving climate technology. It also has a cooperation agreement with the Lower Rhine University of Applied Sciences in Krefeld to train students on the dual bachelor degree programme in mechanical engineering.
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As at: February 2013