SBB commissions Siemens Mobility to partially renovate Limmattal marshalling yard

SBB has commissioned Siemens Mobility to modernize the largest marshalling yard in Switzerland. The order includes partial renovation of the marshalling technology and marshalling yard interlocking, as well as replacement of the hydraulic clasp retarders.

The Limmattal marshalling yard (RBL) is the central hub of Switzerland’s single-car loading traffic. Three times a day, it serves as the transfer point for Swiss domestic freight rail. A fully automated, highly available, high-performance marshalling system is an absolute necessity.


RBL’s aging flow and hump control system will be partially renovated to bring the marshalling equipment up to the latest technological standard. By no later than 2042, the system will be ready to meet the requirements of modern freight traffic. Meanwhile, availability of the Limmattal marshalling yard will continue to be guaranteed.


The following elements of marshalling technology enable RBL’s automatic humping operation:

  • Marshalling yard interlocking (controller), including the associated actuators
  • Integrated remote locomotive control via radio
  • Staggered braking systems
  • Propulsion systems on all 64 classification tracks


The marshalling yard interlocking itself is connected to the centralized car management system via a local communication computer.

Challenges during the conversion

Shunting and humping operations must be maintained throughout the entire commissioning process. Another challenge is the extremely short conversion time for the two key sections. Only 96 hours during the Easter holidays in 2025 and 2026 are set aside for working on the upper main retarders. Among other things, this will require well thought-out building site logistics.


The partial renovation is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

Solution offered by Siemens Mobility AG

The solution for automatic humping operation being offered by Siemens Mobility AG is based on the MSR32 family, which SBB has already deployed successfully multiple times.


Over the past decade, SBB and Siemens Mobility AG have successfully commissioned systems in the Basel 1 marshalling yard (2012 and 2013) and the Basel 2 marshalling yard (2020).


Additional Swiss marshalling systems such as Lausanne, Buchs/SG, and Chiasso were also implemented with marshalling technology from Siemens Mobility.


Siemens Mobility AG is very pleased to be participating in the modernization of Switzerland’s largest marshalling yard.


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