The Intercity Nieuwe Generatie in maintenance facility Watergraafsmeer in Amsterdam

Installation with moving overhead line brought into operation for new NS trains

Over the past year the Watergraafsmeer maintenance workshop in Amsterdam has been converted to be able to maintain the Intercity New Generation (ICNG). VolkerRail, Pilz, Broeze Nijverdal and LiftingPlus have designed an installation with a moving overhead line and a crane that can lift a weight of 1,500 kilos The ICNG will drive on the Dutch rail network in the course of 2021. Watergraafsmeer is already ready for the arrival of the new, fast train.

Project engineer Maarten van Dis from Pilz: “The special thing about the maintenance workshop in Watergraafsmeer is that trains can drive in and out under their own power. Considering much of the technology in the ICNG is in the top of the train, the air-conditioning units as an example, the overhead line in workshop is in the way.”


Hence, working by order of rail transporter NS, the parties designed a unique installation for the new, fast passenger train. Project supervisor Arjan van Bommel from Pilz: “There was initially a permanent overhead line in the maintenance workshop. We replaced this with moving parts. A third party also designed, built and supplied moving platforms that join with the top of the train. Technicians can walk along them and do their work in all safety.”

This was a unique project because the whole installation was a first. We had come up with something completely new and developed a proof of concept”, explains van Dis. “We have combined the moving overhead line with a crane. This crane can lift a weight of to 1,500 kilos in components at the roof. It is a special construction because it was initially thought that there would be no space for the crane, but we managed anyway.” The crane is

The Intercity Nieuwe Generatie in maintenance facility Watergraafsmeer in Amsterdam

Safety file and risk assessment

Pilz has drawn up the complete safety file and carried out the risk assessment. This was a real milestone for our company. Along 220 metres of track, twenty different synchronised drives ensure that the overhead line is moved into a precisely straight position.”

Van Bommel: “The main project contractor was VolkerRail. VolkerRail worked together with Broeze Nijverdal, LiftingPlus and Pilz.” Broeze Nijverdal is a specialist in industrial applications, LiftingPlus was responsible for the crane and Pilz for the control and safety assessment. “VolkerRail put a project group together with project managers from all the parties involved.”

The trial setup was put to the test in September and October last year. Project manager Erik Römkes from NS gave an explanation during the trial: “It concerns a test setup built by Broeze Nijverdal, Pilz and VolkerRail. We use the test setup to see if what they conceived also actually works. It is a working life trial, so we want them to demonstrate to NS that what have conceived will also continue to operate for thirty years.”


Six months later the project team came up against the outbreak of COVID-19, just like many other project teams. Van Dis: “We installed extra workmen’s huts to keep personnel at a distance from each other so the four different companies were not in one space. In the maintenance workshop itself there was no problem keeping a distance with its extremely spacious layout.”

The team was able to bring the project to a successful conclusion in June of this year and handed the installation over. A similar installation may be provided in the maintenance workshop of NS in Leidschendam, but this still something for the future according to Van Dis.

“We had a total of twenty people working happily together on the project. We all had a stake in its successful completion”, concludes Van Dis.

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor-in-chief of, and, online magazines for railway professionals.

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