Here's to the next 15 years! Refurbishment - made by HÜBNER

Most railway vehicles have an operating life of 30 to 40 years. However, because the vehicle gangway systems are subjected to particularly high levels of stress, they typically have a shorter life cycle. During every kilometer of travel, gangways are compensating for the different motions between the cars. "Depending on the routes that are traveled, climate factors, operating hours and the quality of maintenance, gangways on average need to be replaced or refurbished approximately every 15 years," explains Kai Mentel, head of After Sales & Service at HÜBNER.

To help ensure uninterrupted availability of rail vehicle fleets, HÜBNER offers transport companies a comprehensive set of services featuring intelligent refurbishment and retrofitting solutions.  These include the reuse and reconditioning of components such as connecting frames – an effective method for extending the product life cycle which is both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.  HÜBNER is attracting great interest from customers around the world with these approaches. One more metro line in the million-inhabitant metropolis of Melbourne, Australia, for example, will be operating with gangways from HÜBNER in the future.

A success Down Under

As the global leader for gangway systems, HÜBNER  has been successful in a tender process for a refurbishment project from Metro Trains Melbourne. It is now working on the exchange of gangways in the city’s fleet that were originally supplied by another company. In the tender, safety was a particular priority. Since the beginning of the year more than 20 percent of the trains have now been equipped with new gangways from HÜBNER – to the full satisfaction of the customer (

The project displays the complete spectrum of offerings from the HÜBNER After Sales & Service unit. "In Melbourne we used our Motion Recording system to determine the relative movements of the metro cars to one another. This let us take these factors into account in the design and optimal construction of the gangways," explains Heike Kahlert, Regional Sales Manager responsible for Australia. “Technical Service conducted measurements on site in Melbourne and performed an analysis. Then tests using these data with reality-based movements were conducted with a test rig specially developed for this purpose.”

Reducing downtimes and costs for the customer

In addition to its Motion Recording system, the company has also developed other tools in recent years so as to be able to provide customers with economical refurbishment solutions that deliver custom-fitted components. "It is our goal to minimize downtimes and costs for transport operators as much as possible so as to increase the profitability of vehicles in operation," says Mentel.

An ideal complement to the Motion Recording system comes with the use of 3D scanners. Technical Service employees use the scanners to obtain measurement data for the end walls of rail vehicles. These can then be reconstructed and taken into account for the design and layout of gangway systems.

 "This makes it possible for us to develop perfectly fitting gangway systems in our famous HÜBNER quality for vehicles which previously had gangways from another supplier or had no gangways at all," remarks the head of HÜBNER's After Sales & Service unit. "In addition, with 3D scanning we can now scan components as point clouds so that they can then be reconstructed or replicated with 3D printing. And that also saves time and expense for our customers."