SPITZKE electrifies the Suedbahn

The large-scale project in the south of Germany

By 2021, the “Suedbahn” and the continuing “Bodenseeguertelbahn” are to be electrified in several stages and prepared for a speed increase to 160 k. p. h. The employees of the SPITZKE equipment/​electrical engineering expertise have been working on the Ulm – Friedrichshafen – Lindau-Aeschach railway since 2018. Follow the work of the SPITZKE Group in construction phase TEH 3 on this construction site ticker.


 

Update #25 – Connection in Sections TEH 1 and 2 a Complete Success

July 29th, 2021 // It’s done: A few days ago, the first two sections of the Südbahn were successfully electrified. The project lead called this step, which was achieved thanks to a great SPITZKE team performance, a “very important milestone”. The connection went smoothly and without complaints.

SPITZKE Team Enables Connection in Section TEH 1

The active commitment of our crews was needed right up to the last minute. When the connection in section TEH 1 was about to be undertaken, it became apparent that the feeder line from the direction of Ulm, which feeds into the first section, was not connected. Since the client had no other staff available, our team from the Equipment/​Electrical Engineering division stepped in at short notice and laid the supply lines.

Last Switches Reconnected – Section TEH 2 is Also Under Power

The second section was also connected a short time later. Just as in TEH 1, there was a brief moment of excitement. Some incorrectly connected switches were not in our area of responsibility; nevertheless, SPITZKE was also able to provide support here, so that in the end the first two sections were able to be switched on successfully.
Working night shifts, the overhead line specialists in sections TEH 3 and 4 are preparing the further connection. There is still a lot to do before the next milestone can be reached. The last safety-relevant additional services are being implemented before the complete connection of the Südbahn, which is the final major milestone prior to commissioning.

Update #24 – Attention: High voltage!

June 30th 2021 // It will be exciting between Ulm and Lindau in the coming days and weeks. All work is focused on the connection, which is getting closer and closer. At Friedrichshafen station, part of the overhead line systems and the earthing work have already been approved after the initial inspection at the end of May. The second inspection took place last week. In the TEH 3 track section, the list of remaining work is getting shorter and shorter. In the TEH 1 and 2 sections, as well as the Lake Constance Belt Railway (Bodenseegürtelbahn) to Lindau-Aeschach, the SPITZKE crews are working together to implement the last additional safety-relevant services.

Attention! Electrification: Line under 15,000 volts!

In order not to leave the public in the dark about the electrification, SPITZKE organised plenty of signage. Every station, stop, and railway crossing was closely scrutinised in order to decide where warning signs are needed. In section TEH 4, all 87 signs have already been installed, and the other sections are currently being signposted. There will be 521 signs along the entire route.

Update #23 – The finishing touches for the overhead line

May 28th 2021 // The finishing touches for the major project, the electrification of the Suedbahn, is on the agenda. The regulation and earthing continues in sections TEH 1 and 2. At the beginning of May, the track between Bad Schussenried station and Aulendor , as well as the station itself, were approved. In a few days, the experts from the Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division will be ready for the inspection of the overhead line for the longer open track to Ummendorf. Then the extensive remaining work will have to be done.

Friedrichshafen station forms the “keystone” of the Suedbahn

In section TEH 3, the cable work has been finished. Not only have cables been laid, but all cable terminations have also been completed to the greatest possible extent, and a corresponding cable test has been carried out. Friedrichshafen station will be the “keystone” in the electrification of the Suedbahn. Here, work is being carried out at full capacity until the line is electrified, which is planned for July. The first part of the inspection was in May, and another will follow in June. In other parts of the station, regulation and extra work is currently underway at full speed.

SPITZKE and a sea of traffic signs: a warning to the public

In all four construction sections, special remaining work is currently being started: the signage. The public will be informed about the upcoming electrical connection and warned when the overhead line will be live shortly. For this purpose, SPITZKE has photographically documented the line and drawn up a concept. From June, hundreds of signs will be placed along the line.

Update #22 – Further inspections completed. Much remains to be done

April 12th 2021 // The completion of the electrification of the Suedbahn from Ulm to Friedrichshafen, and further to Lindau-Aeschach, is getting closer and closer: In the sections TEH 1 and 2, regulation and earthing are still the most important issues. Gradually, the overhead line specialists are working through the track sections. They are currently at work on the Bad Schussenried-Aulendorf section and at the Bad Schussenried station, where the regulation and earthing measures are just being completed — another piece done. The next section to be completed is the track between Ummendorf and Bad Schussenried, where the approval should take place at the end of May.

Additional work resulting from approval

Even after the approval of the overhead line, SPITZKE experts are not finished: The inspections result in the need for additional projects. These occur when — particularly in the case of earthing work — additional, unplanned work arises. Due to the age of the Suedbahn line, unforeseen events are the order of the day. However, these additional projects are necessary for safe electrical operation. They can include, for example, protective fences or cages at signals that must be retrofitted.

Work is back on target for the 15 kV cable and local control equipment

Weather-related delays at the beginning of the year threw the work on the TEH 3 and 4 sections off schedule. However, the Suedbahn team has really caught up and made great strides in laying the 15 kV cable and installing the local control equipment. In mid-April, the overhead line system and the earthing were approved on the open track of the Ravensburg-Friedrichshafen line. The cable laying is to be completed in May.

Update #21 - Winter brought special challenges

March 5th 2021 // After the work on the TEH 3 section of the Suedbahn had to be briefly suspended in January due to snowfall, February brought even greater challenges for the specialists in the Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division. Under difficult conditions with up to 50 cm of fresh snow, supporting cables and contact wires were pulled as planned. This means that the overhead line work is on schedule, despite the severe onset of winter. For the work on the ground, such as grounding and cable laying, we had to wait a long time for better weather in February. The ground frost and the high snow cover made this work impossible.

At the end of February, we were able to resume with the work on the ground. Currently, the remaining work in the TEH 1/​2 and TEH 4 sections is being carried out simultaneously.

By July 5, 2021, all work on the overhead line, local control equipment, 50 Hz, medium voltage, and grounding must be completed on site. The overhead line system will then be electrified with the first trial voltages. Everyone at SPITZKE is working intensely to keep to the tight schedule.

The goal of the entire Suedbahn project, with its sections TEH 1/​2, TEH 3, and TEH 4, is for commissioning and electrification to be complete by the end of 2021. The Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division has taken this focus into account and is well-positioned to fulfil all contractual services on time. Due to the tight schedule and the weather-related delays, other contract work and subcontractors were already behind on their scheduled construction progress, which was made up for through intensive coordination and optimisation of processes.

In order to achieve the goals of the Suedbahn project together with Deutsche Bahn, everyone involved, especially the responsible project and construction managers as well as the technicians, are faced with special challenges. The project managers would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in this project for their outstanding achievements to date and in the future.

Update #20 - Heavy snowfall and no end in sight

January 19th 2021 // The TEH 3 section of the Suedbahn started as scheduled on January 5, 2021. In the first work cycle, the catenary pulling work at Friedrichshafen station was continued, and further supporting cables and contact wires were installed above the tracks. Towards the end of last week, snow fell for several days, which initially put the execution of further work on hold. Despite this, the work is on schedule thanks to good preliminary work.

Update #19 - The Suedbahn TEH 3 section remains on schedule

November 27th 2020 // The total closure of the second construction section, from Ravensburg to Friedrichshafen, will end on December 20, 2020, and the construction of the overhead line system will be completed on time. The foundation experts from the Leer branch did an excellent job; within approximately two months, they implemented more than 700 mast locations as well as the erection of the yokes in the Friedrichshafen station. This provided preliminary work for pulling the catenaries, which have also already been completed in Ravensburg station and on the two free sections between Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen. On these sections, we are in the final stages of regulating, grounding, and other remaining work. At Friedrichshafen station, work is progressing according to plan and in line with the closure periods. By the end of November, the mast attachments, including the cantilevers, are expected to be installed so that the catenary pulling work can begin at the beginning of December.

Update #18 - My Project: Mario and Danilo on the Suedbahn

In the “My Project” video series, our colleagues take you behind the scenes of the Suedbahn Electrification construction project and tell you about their work. After all, what would SPITZKE’s construction projects be without their commitment?

October 23th 2020 // Our colleagues Mario and Danilo, from the SPITZKE track system, are responsible for inspecting and improving the track systems and mounting parts, as well as approving the placing of the concrete masts, in the Suedbahn project.

Update #17 - My Project: Technical Construction Accountant Stefan Witschel

Under the heading “My Project”, our colleagues will take you behind the scenes of the electrification of the Suedbahn and tell you about their work.

Projektleiter Mario Atzler bei der Elektrifizierung der Südbahn SPITZKE SE

“The Suedbahn is my first project at SPITZKE and I am currently responsible for the construction accounts for the TEH 3 section. Before that, I was responsible for sections TEH 1, 2 and 4. As a construction accountant, it is my job to record the services we have provided and to settle them using the list of services. For this I create measurements and pass them on to the client’s respective construction supervisor so that our services can be invoiced after being confirmed.

I get the necessary information primarily from our site managers and via the construction reports with which our teams on site document the daily construction progress. Sometimes, however, I am also on-site myself and get an overview of the construction process.

I started at SPITZKE two years ago as a career changer. Before that I worked in the accounting department of another company and finished my apprenticeship as General Business Administrator. After about five years, I wanted to change. An old friend from the vocational school then drew my attention to SPITZKE and the position as a Technical Construction Accountant. There is no specific training or degree for this profession. In this respect, it was ideal for a lateral entry. The most important thing is that you want to work independently and take responsibility. That was the crucial point for me too. I also like the variety that the job brings. I am in close exchange with colleagues a lot and my workplace is not just limited to a desk and a monitor, I am also on-site to see what is behind the figures I work with.

Are you also looking for a future-proof job? Our Equipment/​Electrical Engineering division looks for overhead line fitter* and construction manager* and project manager*. All vacancies of the SPITZKE Group are available at www.spitzke.com/​en/​career.

Update #16 – Start of a new section.

September 18th 2020 // The railway between the stations Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen and the two stations themselves have been fully closed since September 14th. The work in the second TEH 3 construction phase has started on schedule. By mid-December, the foundation for further masts will be build and wires for the overhead line will be pulled. An important step as part of the Suedbahn project, to ensure trains can run there with 160 k. p. h. in the future. In addition, the work for setting up the overhead line system are being carried out in parallel at the stations Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen.

Update #15 - My Project: Henning Voß, Project Manager

Under the heading “My Project”, our colleagues take you behind the scenes of the electrification of the Suedbahn and tell you about their work.

SPITZKE SE Projektleiter Henning_Voss

September 2020 // “I have been with SPITZKE for five years and am currently project manager for TEH 4 section of the Suedbahn. We have largely completed the work in this section. Currently, the focus is primarily on the processing and invoicing of additional servic as well as the completion of some remaining work. I also support my colleague Mario Atzler in the TEH 3 section.

When you start a new construction project as a project manager, the first step is always: read, read, read – the specifications, the contracts, etc. As a project manager, you have to digest all of that. Then comes the internal start of the project, the site inspections, and the planning. In this phase, you communicate with a lot of people: the client, the site managers, and even the subcontractors. Scheduling the personnel and equipment is also part of a project manager’s duties. In the end, all of the threads come together. It’s a lot of responsibility.

Before joining SPITZKE, I studied traffic engineering at TU Dresden. In my main studies, I specialised in the planning and operation of electrical transport systems – in other words, I focused specifically on the railway system. I came to SPITZKE through an internship during my studies.

What I like most about working as a project manager is the variety. You don’t spend the whole day in the office but are just as often outside at the construction sites. When these sites are located in such beautiful scenery as Lake Constance, like on the Suedbahn, it is really something special. Another benefit is the freedom you have in self-organisation. At the end of the day, it’s about seeing the project through. But you can help shape the way there yourself.

Are you also looking for a future-proof job? Our Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division is looking for support throughout Germany – for example, with opportunities for an overhead line fitter*, construction manager*, and project manager*. All vacancies can be found at www.spitzke.com/​karriere.

Update #14 - Insights into the daily work of our foundation crews

Around 820 catenary masts have been erected so far on the line between Aulendorf and Ravensburg for the electrification of the Suedbahn. This work is being carried out by SPITZKE’s foundation experts from the Leer branch.

 

Update #13 - My project: Robert Schnisa, Estimator

Under the heading “My Project”, our colleagues take you behind the scenes of the electrification of the Suedbahn and tell you about their work.

SPITZKE SE Robert Schnisa Elektrifizierung Südbahn

“As an estimator, I primarily deal with proposals for construction projects at SPITZKE for which we want to apply. My focus is on projects in the area of overhead line installation.

So that we can make a well-founded, strategic decision together with the management, it is important to carefully analyse the proposals and prepare them accordingly. To do this, I look at the market situation, our personnel and equipment capacities, and the conditions on site, among other things. The aim is to prepare a calculation of how we as a company can optimally implement the construction project. In addition, I support my colleagues in the construction work, calculate additional or modified services, and point out special features, opportunities, and risks.

I originally came to work with overhead lines in 2002 as a career changer, through a training opportunity. Over the course of a few years and a lot of further training, I began managing small construction projects and developed further areas of responsibility, including work preparation, invoicing, and supplementary management. In 2008, I completed part-time coursework and achieved a degree in business administration. I then switched to working in sales as an estimator.

In large-scale projects such as the electrification of the Suedbahn – but also in many other projects in our organization – I am particularly enthusiastic about the collaboration with my co-workers. Constant communication with those involved in the project, especially the project and construction management, is the be-all and end-all of the job. Learning from one another – that’s teamwork! No one knows everything, and everyone can always learn something new! That’s exciting every day.”

Update #12 - Preparation for the second TEH 3 construction phase

While the final work is being completed on the first part of the TEH 3 construction phase, preparations for the section between Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen are underway. This currently includes drilling work in the Ravensburg and Friedrichshafen stations as well as material logistics on the tracks in between. The end of the total closure for this section is planned for mid-December. This means that the project team has about 1.5 months less construction time than for the first section, although the route is only slightly shorter. We wish our colleagues in the Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division and our foundation experts every success in this challenge!

Update #11 - My Project: Mario Atzler, Project Manager

Under the heading “My Project”, our colleagues take you behind the scenes of the electrification of the Suedbahn and tell you about their work. We start with the project manager of section TEH 3, Mario Atzler:

Projektleiter Mario Atzler bei der Elektrifizierung der Südbahn SPITZKE SE

“As project manager, I primarily take care of all of the organisational and commercial issues of a project. I am involved, for example, in the preparation of the construction schedules, the technical and personnel planning, and the processes for invoicing, controlling, and supplementary management. I am also in regular contact with clients and the responsible authorities. In the “Electrification of the Suedbahn” project, I am currently responsible for the work in TEH 3 section, which means that I have up to 80 people on my team, from the fitter to the site manager to the machine operator. Strong communication skills, quick thinking, and a talent for organisation help enormously. In addition to my office work, I am of course often on site at the construction project, so I see a lot of Germany and come into contact with all kinds of people. For me, it’s exactly this variety that makes this job so interesting. And when we have successfully implemented the project in the end, we can be rightfully proud of what we have achieved together.

I originally trained as a banker, but I never really worked in this profession. Instead, I worked at the Investitionsbank des Landes Brandenburg in investment measures and research and development, and I was also involved in the allocation of funding. After moving to the private sector, I very quickly gained a foothold in project management. My know-how in the field of overhead line systems (OLA) came on the job. I studied business administration and am now about to complete my second degree as an industrial engineer. Working in the OLA sector ensures secure prospects for the future –especially in view of the electrification initiative.”

Are you also looking for a future-proof job? Our Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division is looking for support throughout Germany – for example, with opportunities for an overhead line fitter*, construction manager*, and project manager*. All vacancies can be found at www.spitzke.com/​karriere.

Update #10 - First part of construction phase TEH 3 completed on schedule

Elektrifizierung Südbahn: Erster Teil des Bauabschnitts TEH 3 planmäßig abgeschlossen

Since July 20, 2020 rail traffic has been running again on the Suedbahn line between the Aulendorf and Ravensburg stations. With the ending of the total closure, the first part of the construction phase TEH 3 has been completed as planned. Since the beginning of March, the experts from SPITZKE’s Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division, as well as those working on the double-track line, have erected approximately 820 masts and pulled around 55 km of catenary.

Update #9 - A look into the everyday work of our overhead line fitters

What work is behind the electrification of the Suedbahn? What does the day-to-day work of SPITZKE’s overhead line fitters look like, and what steps have to be taken so that the railway can run on electrified lines? Click on the following video to get a brief overview.

Our Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division is looking for overhead line fitters (m/​f/​d) throughout Germany to support us. Would you like to contribute your know-how in the construction, maintenance, and servicing of overhead line systems? Then apply now. You can find out more about SPITZKE’s Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division here.

Update #8 - The electrification of the Suedbahn in the media spotlight

Over the past weeks and months, the work on the electrification of the Suedbahn has repeatedly attracted the interest of the local and regional media. Most recently, the Schwäbische Zeitung reported on the installation of the 44-metre yoke at the Aulendorf station and the current status of the electrification work. You can read the reports by clicking on the links in the text.

Update #7 - Connection made between construction sections TEH 2 and TEH 3

On the night of Wednesday, April 29, 2020 the first catenary, consisting of contact wire and suspension rope, was pulled at Aulendorf station, thus establishing the connection between construction sections TEH 2 and TEH 3.

SPITZKE stellt Anschluss zwischen den Bauabschnitten TEH 2 und TEH 3 her

Update #6 - Yoke assembly at Aulendorf station

In mid-April 2020, our overhead line and foundation fitters were “nocturnal” at Aulendorf station. For the installation of the station’s longest yoke, several tracks had to be completely closed on a Sunday evening.

With the help of road-rail excavators, self-propelled road-rail elevating platforms, the so-called EVO risers, and the Krupp track-mounted drills and pile-drivers I and II, the 44 metre long and nine tonne heavy yoke was lifted and installed.

SPITZKE stellt Joche im Bahnhof Aulendorf

Update #5 - Visible progress along the line

Positive news for Easter: The progress of the electrification of the Suedbahn is now clearly visible in section TEH 3. Over the past few weeks, not only have the mast foundations been laid between Ravensburg and Niederbiegen, but numerous masts have also been installed and equipped. We wish you all a happy Easter and will be back after a short holiday break.

Fahrleistungsmaste zwischen Ravensburg und Niederbiegen auf dem Südbahn Bauabschnitt TEH 3

Update #4 - Founding and setting the overhead line masts

Since February 2020, there have been numerous trips to the line between Aulendorf and Ravensburg for logistics purposes. The material required for the work was placed along the line and prepared for use. Now our crews from the branch in Leer (Lower Saxony) are in action and taking over the foundation and placement of the overhead line masts.

Gründungsarbeiten auf der Südbahn_Bauabschnitt TEH 3

Both track-mounted pile-drivers and road-rail excavators from SPITZKE’s technical park are being used.

Update #3 - Section TEH 3, here we go!

Betonmaste werden per Ganzzug von Möllenhagen zur Südbahn transportiert

At the beginning of March 2020, 300 catenary masts reached the TEH 3 section by block train.

Manufactured in the SPITZKE FAHRWEGSYSTEME GmbH production facility in Möllenhagen in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the masts were transported by SLG SPITZKE LOGISTIK GmbH on 28 wagons, via Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance to Ravensburg, for unloading onto the construction track. From March to July 2020, the line between Aulendorf and Ravensburg will be closed for the upcoming work. So here we go! The electrification of the last section of the Suedbahn has begun.

Philipp Richter, editor of the Schwäbische Zeitung, has written a report on this for his readers. You can read it here.

Update #2 - What has happened so far

Since August 2018, our colleagues in the Equipment/​Electrical Engineering Division have been electrifying the Suedbahn railway line in four construction phases. For the electrification of the line, around 4,000 masts need to be erected by our foundation experts between Ulm and Friedrichshafen, and on to Lindau. Most of these masts come from SPITZKE’s own production subsidiary for prestressed concrete products, the SPITZKE FAHRWEGSYSTEME GmbH.

The first completed length of catenary was celebrated as early as November 2018. On September 18, 2019, the first pile was driven for the electrification of the Bodenseegürtelbahn, the southernmost construction section between Friedrichshafen and Lindau-Aeschach. In the meantime, work on the TEH 1 and TEH 2 (Ulm – Aulendorf) and TEH 4 (Bodenseegürtelbahn) sections has been largely completed.

You can now read about SPITZKE’s electrification work on the middle section TEH 3 (Aulendorf – Friedrichshafen) here in the construction site ticker.

Update #1 – Suedbahn – the railway line in Southern Germany

The so-called Suedbahn runs from Ulm via Biberach an der Riß, Aulendorf and Ravensburg to Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance. Today, it is one of the few double-track main lines in Germany that is not yet fully electrified. It was built between 1846 and 1850, making it one of the oldest railway lines in Baden-Wuerttemberg. It was upgraded to two tracks between 1905 and 1913.

Welcome to the Suedbahn in southern Germany

It is easy to see, that SPITZKE is working on closing the electrification gap between Aulendorf in Baden-Württemberg and Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance since the beginning of March. So, we open our construction site ticker here and say: Welcome to the Suedbahn in the TEH 3 section!
In the coming months we will share main insights on the construction site, report on the work of the SPITZKE expertise used, provide exciting information on current events and let you take a look behind the scenes of this exciting large-scale project.

Enjoy reading!

Please note that page is only available in German.

 

You can find all SPITZKE construction site tickers here in the overview.