ICE 3 fleet is on the rails with refurbished HÜBNER gangways - Refurbishment: Flexible line production for maximum vehicle availability

500 gangways in six years: In July, the HÜBNER Group has successfully completed refurbishment work on gangways for the Deutsche Bahn’s (DB) ICE 3 trains of the series 403 and 406. With the completion of this order, HÜBNER has helped to make parts of Germany’s most important train fleet fit for the future.

ICE 3 fleet is on the rails with refurbished HÜBNER gangways
In the production area of HÜBNER-After Sales & Service, Andrej Radcenko dismantles a gangway system from the ICE 3. Photo: HÜBNER-Group/Uwe Zucchi
ICE 3 fleet is on the rails with refurbished HÜBNER gangways
HÜBNER employee Ahmad Alimi with a repaired frame of a gangway system from the ICE 3. Photo: HÜBNER Group/Uwe Zucchi


The customized line production system at the Kassel location was a  significant factor for the HÜBNER After Sales & Service division in managing the refurbishment of the gangway systems for Germany’s fastest trains in a flexible, customer-oriented manner. With this approach, it was possible to reduce downtimes while maximizing overall vehicle availability.


The aim is to facilitate the most efficient possible maintenance

“The aim of our refurbishment strategy is to facilitate the most efficient possible maintenance for our customers. We made customized arrangements for the ICE 3 together with Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance services at the beginning of the project – with a needs-based technical solution and short throughput times,” explains Christoph Steinbach, Head of Sales for After Sales & Service. What is special about HÜBNER’s concept according to Steinbach is that: “Instead of having 1-to-1 exchange of the entire gangway systems, we work out the ideal scheduling and an assembly-based technical solution for each gangway refurbishment. With this approach we aim to reduce the costs and to increase the availability. A solution that is precisely tailored to the overall life cycle of the vehicle and reuses as many components as possible makes our refurbishment both cost-efficient and sustainable.”


High expectations completely fulfilled

For the DB, HÜBNER has completely fulfilled its high expectations for the refurbishment of the gangway systems of the ICE 3 trains. A significant advantage here is that HÜBNER has a very high level of knowledge regarding the whole area of rail operations, so that the company is able to understand and realize the refurbishment process in a holistic manner.

The project with DB Fernverkehr has also been very important for HÜBNER. “The refurbishment of the ICE 3 trains has been a special order for the HÜBNER company, as we were the original equipment supplier for the gangway systems starting back in 1997. With the completed refurbishment of the gangways, we’ve now made our contribution to ensuring the further use of the ICE 3 trains of the Deutsche Bahn on the rails in Germany and Europe,” says Dennis Böhm, Regional Sales Manager, After Sales & Service at HÜBNER.


Fast and resource-efficient: Expertise through experience

Thanks to its many years of experience, HÜBNER has the necessary expertise to manage the refurbishment process quickly, while at the same time conserving resources as much as possible. Dennis Böhm: “Our knowledge of the gangway product and of corrugated bellows together with our understanding of the train as a complete system makes us unique in the industry. This product knowledge makes it possible for us to evaluate the technical components very precisely, which in turn allows us to implement highly efficient and customized refurbishment solutions.”


Reliable quality even at 300 km per hour

In general, gangway systems are among the most heavily stressed systems in a rail vehicle – especially in high-speed trains. Gangways and corrugated bellows need to serve as flexible connecting elements that reliably compensate for the many movements and forces exerted between the individual carriages – even at speeds of up to 300 km per hour. In view of this, gangway systems typically need to be refurbished or replaced after 15 years, depending on the routes that are traveled, climate factors, operating hours and the quality of maintenance.


After-sales support as product life cycle management

HÜBNER sees its after-sales support as a form of product life cycle management and accompanies its customers as a reliable partner from the start throughout the entire product life cycle. In addition, HÜBNER works out individual life-cycle strategies with operators to maximize vehicle availability, as Christoph Steinbach emphasizes: “Our range of services does not end simply with the initial delivery of the main product. Instead, we provide the complete project management, support customers in their individual maintenance strategy and also understand the provision of services in connection with our main product gangway systems as part of our product – and this is customized to the individual fleet requirements and specific conditions in the depots.”


The team in HÜBNER’s After Sales & Service division is a lifecycle partner for gangway systems for customers all over the world. From Norway to New Zealand, the team supports transport companies and operators of trams, railways and metros with the supply of spare parts and refurbishment projects.

More about the After Sales & Service business unit