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Engineering experience and modern solutions: The Voith Rail Service Center in Kiel

Service all around

The cantus FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) is 74 m long and weighs 125 metric tons.

The Voith Rail Service Center in Kiel combines years of engineering experience with modern solutions to provide rail customers with the best services.

Walking into the 16,000-square-meter production site of the Voith Rail Service Center in the north German city of Kiel, the first thing that immediately catches the eye is a 74-meter train suspended in its entirety about 3 meters above ground. The train, from local rail service provider cantus Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH, is here for a bogie overhaul – one of the services offered by Voith Turbo and part of its comprehensive portfolio.

The Service Center in Kiel is located directly at the Kiel Canal, which connects the North Sea to the Baltic Sea.

Since the end of 2014, Voith offers a wide range of services for rail vehicle operators. “We are not a typical maintenance provider,” explains Ulf Klaua, Director Sales of Voith Turbo in Kiel. “Instead of simply restoring components to their original state, we are also able to suggest and carry out improvements, effectively modernizing vehicles.” This expertise stems from the history of the site, where between 2005 and 2014 Voith manufactured its own locomotives. “The engineering know-how we have means that we understand railway vehicles from A to Z,” says Klaua. A know-how appreciated by customers: “We awarded the first contract to Voith Turbo for the repainting of our trains about two years ago. Even though they were then a new player in the market, we were confident of receiving good results because of their experience,” explains Christoph Engel, Maintenance Manager for cantus. Only a year later, Voith won a second contract, this time for the bogie overhauls of all of their 21 trains. “Voith’s overall concept was convincing, especially the flexibility and very short processing times they offered,” says Engel.

In the bogie workshop, which includes a wheelset press and test rigs, bogies and their components are overhauled in-house, there are few interfaces, and there’s no need for complicated loading and transportation to remove the wheels and re-install them again. As a result, lead times are considerably reduced. “Depending on the scope of the tasks, we are able to finish a bogie replacement for cantus within five days,” says Dieter Wolfgram, Account Manager with Voith, “and high availability of their vehicles is of course crucial for our customers.”

Today operators want to focus on their core business, which is to transport passengers or freight from A to B.
Ulf Klaua, Director Sales, Voith Turbo Kiel

The Rail Service Center is exemplary for Voith’s redefined service strategy. While maintenance and spare parts remain pivotal, full-service solutions are becoming more important. “Twenty years ago, train operators had their own workshops and know-how. Today they focus on their core business, which is to transport passengers or freight from A to B, and the logistics that entails,” explains Klaua. Consequently, operators seek partners they can entrust the maintenance of their fleets with. “We have customers that ask for full-service concepts for their trains for the next 10 years. That usually entails monitoring the trains,” says Klaua.