Hundreds of thousands of commuters and travellers use the railway every day in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region. The RRX is intended to replace the current regional traffic, which runs on single lines every hour, and provide a networked interval of 15 minutes. SPITZKE’s Equipment/Electrical Engineering Division is responsible for the overhead contact line systems in this huge rail infrastructure project, which is part of the 2030 Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan.
July 5th 2021 // Since 10 p.m. Friday evening, the major closure of the Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) has been underway, during which time the main work on the catenary for construction stage 2 is being carried out. The total closure runs parallel to the summer holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia. The long-distance railway line will be closed during the entire summer holiday period; the S-Bahn line will be closed only during the first and last week of the holiday.
Among the preparatory measures was the implementation of the earthing concept. In this process, the switches were bolted out and secured. After the construction track was set up, the overhead line specialists swung the feeder line at one point in order to clear the construction site for the foundation crew from the Leer branch. They are currently working day and night shifts to set up the last masts in planning approval section 1.3, and will then move on to planning approval section 1.2.
The overhead line professionals, who now also work during the day, began dismantling the old catenary over the weekend. They are dismantling the old catenary in the areas where the newly erected masts are located. In the next few days, the teams will pull the new feeder line and place it on the masts. After that, the construction of the new catenary will begin.
May 31th 2021 // Snapshots of the electrification of the RRX between Leverkusen and Langenfeld.
April 16th 2021 // After the first full closure on the Rhine-Ruhr Express, the project has picked up speed for SPITZKE. Work on the RRX is in full swing and the overhead line work has also started. Almost 6 km of line was checked and readjusted, and the height and lateral position of the catenary was checked by optical plummet and faulty brackets were adjusted.
Work is progressing not only in the air, but also on the ground. The foundation specialists from our Leer branch drilled 44 mast foundations in just a few days, twelve of these have already been concreted.
Logistically challenging project
As it is unfortunately not possible to store the necessary materials in section 1.3 between Leverkusen-Rheindorf and Langenfeld, they had to be delivered from section 1.2. 8 km away. Space in general is one of the major challenges during construction work on the RRX. A very large number of people are working in the construction area and the tracks of the project sections are closely surrounded. Despite the additional time required, the closure was very successful, according to our project manager from our Western Regional Headquarters.
The SPITZKE team is highly motivated and currently working mainly in night shifts, as the line is closed to mainline traffic at night. Work between mainline and urban railway is only possible during full closures because the tracks are too close together. And so, during this time, our teams continue to set up along the line, pre-assemble masts, extend and erect them.
March 26th 2021 // Project start for the overhead line work on the Rhein-Ruhr-Express: This weekend, SPITZKE’s work on the new overhead line really gets underway. After a lot of preparation, the first closure period heralds two work-intensive weeks for the Equipment/Electrical Engineering Division and the foundation crew of our Leer branch. From March 27th to April 9th, the line between Leverkusen and Langenfeld will be fully closed. In order to make the best possible use of the tightly scheduled time for all foundations and overhead line work, the sections of the line on which many different companies and trades are working in parallel were prepared accordingly in advance.
In addition to the logistical and organisational parameters involved in such a large-scale project, special attention must be paid to safety. To ensure that the overhead line is not accidentally energised remotely, 26 switches had to be manually locked, which will be reactivated after the closure period.
In the last two weeks, not only was the closure period prepared, but the construction site was also set up, among other things. We will report in three weeks what SPITZKE has implemented in the first full closure on the RRX.
March 5th 2021 // The RRX is a railway infrastructure and mobility project that was launched in 2006. In 2013, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia signed the basic agreements and in 2017, the expansion and reconstruction of the railway infrastructure began. Work on the Leverkusen section has been underway since March 2020. Within three years, the track expansion will be advanced to 3 km to make room for the RRX.
SPITZKE will take over the overhead contact line system work, coordinated by the western regional headquarters, in the period from 2021 to 2023. Preparations are underway and the planning phase is nearly completed. The final structural inspection is still underway before the official plan can be approved.
The construction areas have been set up and the probing for the foundations have been completed. SPITZKE is currently working on the final pre-excavations. Now, the relocation of a local control equipment cable and the implementation of the earthing concept for the first total closure for Easter are still pending.
From 27 March, the specialists from the SPITZKE branch Leer will start with the foundations, and work on the overhead contact line systems will start at the beginning of April.
Springtime is construction project start time. In March, a new large-scale project for SPITZKE starts in North Rhine-Westphalia. The ambitious Rhine-Ruhr Express railway project, which is being built until 2030, will reorganise the railway network between Cologne and Dortmund. The main goal is more direct connections every 15 minutes between the two major cities for millions of passengers. The current infrastructure is not sufficient to increase capacities and overcome bottlenecks, e.g. because long-distance and regional trains still use the same tracks.
We regularly report here on the work in the section between Leverkusen-Chempark and Leverkusen-Küppersteg and the section between Leverkusen-Rheindorf and Langenfeld-Berghausen. We take you on the construction project, report on our competencies we are using, provide exciting information on current events and let you look behind the scenes of this large-scale project.