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Siemens Mobility Goole Component Repair Facility

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Whilst the Siemens Mobility Goole train manufacturing plant and supply chain rail village is still being finished, and no train building work is expected to commence until March 2024, one part is already up and running: its component overhaul business. With nearly 4,000 Siemens carriages in service or on order, most of which Siemens maintains, there was a desire to become self-sufficient for some overhaul work.

Some years ago, Siemens set up facilities in Leeds and Lincoln to overhaul gearboxes/traction motors and bogies, respectively. Under the leadership of Craig Beech, service operations manager, the quality and turnround times achieved led to more and more work being taken on and it outgrew the Leeds site.


Motor overhaul in progress.

In June 2022, Siemens Mobility announced it was “expanding its £200 million rail village in Goole by building a new £7 million component facility which will create up to 30 new jobs.” It was built by local firm GMI. In April 2023, just 10 months later, the facility was opened by Micheal Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, and was fully operational a month later.

Already, it employs 40 full-time staff, including five apprentices from the East Riding of Yorkshire and all but five of the Leeds staff had transferred to Goole. The new 4,000 square metre space will allow the facility to take on the maintenance of more components in the future and Rail Engineer was told of plans to increase the workforce to 80 by the end of 2023. Much of the work now done at the site in Goole had previously taken place in mainland Europe.

During a tour of the Goole site (see Paul Darlington’s article ‘Bees, sheep, and trains’), Rail Engineer was shown around the facility by Rick Birkbeck, head of production.


Gearboxes from UK Siemens trains are overhauled at Goole, together with Siemens group manufactured gearboxes for other external customers. A modern train gearbox is a sophisticated piece of kit which is quite heavy and made more difficult to handle as it usually comes attached to half a ton of axle!

The gearboxes arrive for overhaul after the wheels have been removed and with the wheel and axle bearing seats carefully protected. The overhaul process is straightforward, but requires care and precision, especially keeping gear sets together (unless, of course they are damaged or worn beyond limits). Bearings are always replaced typically between four and six bearings per gearbox. Rail Engineer saw machines used to manipulate gearbox housings to enable technicians to work at a convenient height. After assembly and checking alignment/backlash etc., the final task is to check for excess noise or vibration under load using two gearboxes mounted back-to-back in a test cell.

Overhauled gearboxes awaiting dispatch.

Your writer has watched traction motors being overhauled at various times over a long career, which was usually a skilled task especially when skimming and undercutting the commutator on a DC machine for another four/five years of service. The benefits of three phase induction motors over traditional DC motors really becomes clear when witnessing the overhaul process at Goole. They are much smaller than the equivalent DC motor and there is not much to go wrong.

The overhaul process for Siemens AC motors includes, strip, clean, examine and test for damage or failing insulation, and then rebalance the rotor and reassemble with new bearings. A load test of the motor cannot be performed as they’re not designed to hold high loads as they are always connected to a gearbox that holds the load. A routine electrical and running test is performed at Goole. The third current product line is overhauled air conditioning sets where there is at least one set per carriage on the Siemens fleet.

Rick explained the benefits of overhauling locally. The transit time will be much shorter than shipping the equipment abroad to the OEM site. Moreover, the OEM, even a Siemens group company, might be carrying out work for a number of operators and the customer might not be able to influence the priority of work. This means that a component might be away for many weeks compared with a local supplier. Moreover, Siemens Goole has access to key OEM drawings and other technical information as well as Siemens group experts.

After the tour, it was clear that Sambit Banerjee’s ambitions for the site include expanding the components business and it was obvious that there is plenty of space and capability to do so.

Malcolm Dobell BTech CEng FIMechE
Malcolm Dobell BTech CEng FIMechE
SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, depots, systems integration, fleet operations. Malcolm Dobell worked for the whole of his 45-year career with London Underground. He entered the Apprentice Training Centre in Acton Works in 1969 as an engineering trainee, taking a thin sandwich course at Brunel University, graduating with an honours degree in 1973. He then worked as part of the team supervising the designs of all the various items of auxiliary equipment for new trains, which gave him experience in a broad range of disciplines. Later, he became project manager for the Jubilee Line’s first fleet of new trains (displaced when the extension came along), and then helped set up the train refurbishment programme of the 90s, before being appointed Professional Head of Rolling stock in 1997. Malcolm retired as Head of Train Systems Engineering in 2014 following a career during which he had a role in the design of all the passenger trains currently in service - even the oldest - and, particularly, bringing the upgraded Victoria line (rolling stock and signalling) into service. He is a non-executive director of CPC Systems, a systems engineering company that helps train operators improve their performance. A former IMechE Railway Division Chairman and a current board member, he also helps to organise and judge the annual Railway Challenge and is the chair of trustees for a multi academy trust in Milton Keynes.


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