Ground-breaking ceremony for structural change

New railway depot in Cottbus Ground-breaking ceremony for structural change

In the heart of the Lausitz region, a new, modern railway maintenance depot for ICE trains is being built: the “New Cottbus depot”. It is to go into operation as early as 2024. For Federal Chancellor Scholz, this is “good news for the town of Cottbus and the entire Lausitz region”, and sends an “optimistic signal to the whole of eastern Germany”.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the ground-breaking ceremony for a new railway depot in Cottbus

Federal Chancellor Scholz at the ground-breaking ceremony for the largest maintenance depot of Deutsche Bahn in Cottbus.

Photo: Federal Government/Steins

The “New Cottbus depot” project by Deutsche Bahn AG promotes structural strengthening in the region while at the same time making an important contribution to the mobility transition. As Federal Chancellor Scholz stated during the ground-breaking ceremony in Cottbus on Tuesday: “The mobility transition will only succeed with the aid of a modern, high-performance railway.”

What exactly is the “New Cottbus depot”?

At the site of the railway maintenance depot which dates back to the 1870s, two new halls are being erected: first a two-track hall, approximately 445 metres long, to be completed by 2024, followed by a four-track hall, approximately 570 metres long and scheduled for completion by 2026. Construction work is already beginning this year. Entire ICEtrains can be repaired and maintained in both halls, in particular the ICE 4 type.

Where will the funding for the new depot come from?

The new depot will be funded on the basis of the Coal Regions Investment Act. One billion euros have been allocated to this project from the relevant budget. Through this law, the Federal and Länder Governments are helping regions in Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia which are affected by the coal phase-out to develop sustainable jobs and new economic structures.

How is the structural change being promoted?

The “New Cottbus depot” is highly significant for the structural change in the Lausitz region. It creates high-quality industrial jobs and helps to retain qualified specialist workers in a region affected by the coal phase-out. In total, 1,200 new jobs will be created by 2026, 100 of which will be apprenticeships. “The Lausitz will remain an industrial region in the 21st century,” ascertained Federal Chancellor Scholz.

And what about climate protection?

“Here in Cottbus, the railway system will be put into shape and put back on track,” the Federal Chancellor said. This makes Deutsche Bahn and the new depot “trendsetters on our path towards climate transformation and the mobility transition” – with the aim of a climate-neutral Germany by 2045. The new depot will enable even more ICE trains to run in future, which means that more people will be able to use the railway as a climate-friendly means of transport.

As part of the "Strong Track” strategy, Deutsche Bahn is continuously expanding its ICE fleet. Around 450 ICE trains are to be running by the end of the decade. By as early as 2024, the number of ICE 4 trains will rise from the current figure of just under 100 to 137 vehicles.

Why is the new depot so exemplary?

The first ICE trains will be maintained in the Lausitz region from 2024 – two years earlier than originally planned. “That is exemplary!” praised Scholz, since the coalition agreement has stipulated faster administration, planning and authorisation processes for the areas of energy, infrastructure, construction and environmental law. “The Federal Government will make all the necessary decisions for this by the end of this year.”

You can find out more about the ”New Cottbus depot” project on the new railway depot’s website.