Bismarck on the path of digital transformation.

From left to right: Marcus Brüning, Director of CAF Deutschland GmbH, Mayor of Gelsenkirchen Karin Welge and RVR Regional Director Karola Geiß-Netthöfel

At the event held on 11th January at the Bahnbetriebswerk, Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck, the Ruhr Regional Association handed over the keys to CAF, the new owner of the land. During this press conference, the tender of the Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck railway workshop was also presented by Karola Geiß-Netthöfel, RVR Regional Director; as well as the project construction plan by Marcus Brüning, Director of CAF Deutschland GmbH and the NMN project and its significance for the region by Gabriele Matz, VRR board spokeswoman.

"With this sale, we reactivate an old industrial area by settling a new, future-oriented company. When doing so, we are not only strengthening the business location, but we are also helping to reduce the need to intervene in the open space. In addition, the new regional units will contribute remarkably to the mobility revolution on the way to the climate-neutral Ruhr Metropolis", Karola Geiß-Netthöfel, RVR Regional Director.

Karin Welge, the Mayor of Gelsenkirchen also wanted to highlight the importance of the project and the benefits and positive impact it will have for the city of Gelsenkirchen. “The settlement of CAF is a good new for Gelsenkirchen. The Bismarck depot now has a future that builds on its tradition from the 1920s and continues with the times. I want to thank everyone who has contributed to filling this historic location with new life." says Karin Welge, the Mayor of Gelsenkirchen.

Last October, CAF acquired this space to build a digital workshop, to carry out the maintenance of the regional battery trains that will replace the old diesel vehicles, for the local transport in the region. The German transport authorities VRR (Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr) and NWL chose CAF for the supply of 76 battery-powered trains, and the associated fleet maintenance services during the period 2025-2058.

"In order to improve the climate balance of local public transport and to make further progress in the mobility transformation, the Rhine-Ruhr transport association is committed to innovative initiatives. This is an important step to achieve the 90% of the SPNV operated services in the network area to be electric by 2030 and further reduce CO2 emissions, fine dust, and noise. This makes the Niederrhein-Münsterland network the first regional rail transport network in NRW with alternative drives and at the same time the largest BEMU network in all of Germany” explained Gabriele Matz, VRR board spokeswoman.

The BBW Bismarck workshop was in operation from 1926 to 1981 and is today the largest preserved old railway depot for steam locomotives in the Ruhr area. CAF expects a large-scale digital project that will reactivate a disused area, developing the location and contributing significantly to the region.

Marcus Brüning, CAF Deutschland GmbH director pointed out that the good location of the property and the available railway connections make the place attractive and strategic for the development of the project. "With this old railway depot, we have found an ideal place in terms of location, size and accessibility to build a digital workshop of the future in NRW. We will also create more than thirty new long-term jobs in Gelsenkirchen. In addition, this extensive property offers future opportunities to expand the workshop and has great potential for further business development in NRW ".

The CAF Group demonstrates its firm commitment to the transition towards sustainable and digital transport, developing a wide range of solutions for operators with the aim of guaranteeing fleets safety and availability.