History of the Test Center Rolling Stock in Halle/Saale
The Vehicle Testing Institute of the Deutsche Reichsbahn was founded in Halle in 1952. The institute later moved to spacious new premises in Volkmannstrasse in Halle and established itself from 1960 as the Versuchs- und Entwicklungsstelle Maschinenwirtschaft (Mechanical Engineering Testing and Development Institute), later the Institut für Eisenbahnwesen (Rail Institute). The track testing department operated five measuring cars for a range of tasks, which were used in rail vehicle test runs on the tracks of the Deutsche Reichsbahn and international routes.
During the railway reform of 1994, the Institute was combined with its counterpart bodies of the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) and locations in East Germany were successively closed. The Halle location closed in 1997 and the test premises in Volkmannstrasse were converted into a maintenance facility for what is today DB Regio AG.
Among the original 35 or so staff at the track testing department were two members who decided to found a new track testing department in a joint venture with the then Munich-based company IVM Joint Venture GmbH, using the measurement technology that had been discarded during closure of the Halle location as a basis. One of these staff members was Uwe Rönsch, today Head of TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH’s Test Center for Rolling Stock at Halle/Saale. However, at that time Delitzsch was initially chosen as the new site because a vacant vehicle depot of DB AG was available. Delitzsch thus became the first genuinely independent rail vehicle testing centre in Germany, based on the possibilities opened up by the deregulation of rail transport.
Development of the track testing department
The track testing department has flourished over the years and became part of the TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH Test Center for Rolling Stock in 2008. The Test Center for Rolling Stock holds accreditation from the German Accreditation Body DAkkS and the Federal Railway Authority for testing rail vehicles and components.
In 2014 it was decided that the opportunities for development offered by Delitzsch had been exhausted. An alternative location was sought, and found in the shape of the former Bombadier plant at Halle-Ammendorf. The track testing department moved to its “new” location at Halle on 1 September 2014. Despite the plant’s closure as a rail technology centre in 2005, Halle-Ammendorf has developed anew and now employs over 450 staff. In addition to TÜV SÜD Rail, whose relocation to Halle-Ammendorf gave major impetus to the advancement of the site, further companies from the rail technology sector likewise opened facilities there. The history of vehicle testing in Halle thus continues, with 16 new jobs now established at TÜV SÜD Rail.
At present around 35 members of TÜV SÜD Rail GmbH work at the Halle/Saale and Görlitz locations. The track testing department has again grown to 16 staff and now specialises in testing running characteristics and brake systems, strength tests as well as aerodynamic optimisation and testing of pantographs. Our customers are rail vehicle manufacturers throughout the world, and our work has been integrated into many rail vehicles in daily operation, from ICE trains, locomotives and rail cars to freight wagons. We were commissioned by rail manufacturer Bombardier to provide braking system testing for the new fleet of Talent model suburban trains (S-Bahn) operated by DB Regio AG in the Central German transport region. We conducted development and approval tests for running characteristics on behalf of the bogie producer ELH from Queis. Sales of the newly developed RC25NT bogie are successful, thus safeguarding the future of the ELH location.