Since 1889 Windhoff has been an established name brand in machine building and plant construction, and in 2014, the company celebrates its 125th anniversary.

The manufacturing and distribution programme from Rheine comprises a broad range of innovative products in the field of rail vehicles as well as general railway engineering and shunting technology.

Windhoff offers optimum technical solutions for most any application, both as custom-tailored systems and as series production units. The comprehensive range of shunting vehicles and their various derivatives are typical examples for innovation and flexibility by Windhoff.

Railway compatibility is the focal point with Windhoff’s rail road shunting vehicles (ZRW). They are fully suitable for use in harsh shunting jobs and they easily cope with the rough jolts exerted also during routine shunting work. Flexibility is a foremost feature of these vehicles as inrailing can be conducted at almost any place. The possibility of relocating a ZRW for several kilometres in the road mode is another strong asset. The vehicles are generally fitted with solid rubber tyres. The friction co-efficient for rubber/steel contact (µ = ca. 0.6) is twice that of the figure for steel/steel (µ = ca, 0.3) for a rail-bound shunting vehicle. Thus, rubber-tyred units yield twice the tractive force for identical service weights. As a result, a ZRW weighing in at 24 tons has the pulling power of a 45 tons conventional locomotive. ZRWs are designed for high power at rather low speeds. The achievable final is of secondary nature for the overall performance, and with this concept, the vehicles can be operated with rather low own power. Purchase, operating and maintenance costs are well below those for conventional locomotives.


The ZRW15 has been on the market for more than 20 years. The ZRW35 and the ZRW50 are the logical and more powerful developments. These shunting vehicles are the basis of the ZRW palette covering the lower performance for towing loads up to 1,000 tons. The ZRW64, ZRW125 and ZRW180 cater for higher performance ranges. These vehicles are offered for various weight and performance categories for towing loads from 200 up to 4,400 tons. The ZRWs can be realised with different track gauges (1,000 – 1,676 mm), and they can be fitted with virtually any type of coupler system.

Customers have a choice of drive systems: Emission-free battery-electric drive (AEM), hybrid drive system (DAE), and Diesel-hydrostatic drive (DH). The use of advanced AC drive technology for the batter-electric vehicles has provided for performance categories unheard from only a few years ago. As such, a TRW64AEM safely cope with a 1,600 tons load even on wet rail faces. When used in cycled or intermittent operations, a batter-electric unit will be far more economical than a Diesel-powered vehicle, as the electric drive uses energy only when the vehicle is moved.

The Diesel vehicles, on the other hand, can also be used in continuous, 3-shift operations. Longer distances and gradients can be negotiated under full power. The Diesel-powered vehicles, too, are examples for excellent performance with the Windhoff drive concept. As with the company’s more conventional shunting locomotives, Windhoff uses a hydrostatic drive system. It allows for smooth acceleration and wear-free braking.

The modular concept permits the use of different drive systems and facilitates the realisation of dedicated vehicle configurations on a common platform. Replacing of assemblies and modules, such as motor, engine, battery or pneumatic unit, is rather simple. Most modules are plug-in designs and can be removed by forklift truck or crane, for in case of major replacement or repair. The modular concept bears another important feature, as retrofitting or installation of additional equipment, such as lighting, sanding, radio sets, etc., can be effected with little effort and at low cost.


In most case, business considerations regarding personnel will lead to increased use of automation. Small capital investment can quickly result in substantial savings. Along this line, ZRWs can easily be fitted with remote radio control systems. Using a Cattron-Theimeg radio control acc. DIN EN 50239, for instance, allows the driver to act as safety supervisor from the end of the train section. The degree of automation can be further expanded. Here, a bi-directional radio connection (e.g. safe WLAN or data link) can be implemented to fully integrate the vehicles in loading / unloading processes. Automatic positioning of rail cars at loading ramps is one of several automated functions. The PLC (make Lütze) is compatible with main line service and it positions rail cars using stationary sensors and transducers (wheelset sensors, light barriers, etc.). Other stationary systems and devices are also monitored, as there are flashing beacons or warning horns, and signal from Emergency-STOP buttons or switches or from safety interlocks can be integrated into the control system. Dedicated, custom-tailored solutions can be provided. Windhoff boast all the necessary in-house know-how.

Certification of railway systems is a prominent topic in the European arena. ZRW can be certified for normal road traffic, and certification to national railway criteria can be provided. Vehicles of the series ZRW64, ZRW125 and ZRW180 comply with DIN EN15746 for rail road shunting vehicles. They meet the requirements and specifications for railway-specific buffer and draw-gear systems, brake systems, remote radio control arrangements, etc. This also applies to a client’s internal processes. As a rule, the responsibility for the safe operation rests with the user / operator. Therefore, there is no room for comprises in the safety sector. ZRWs are derailment-safe and they can also be operated under live overhead catenary lines. Customer support by Windhoff starts with competent consulting right from the initial planning and design of related projects. Depending on the country or operating location for the vehicles, national railway authorities call for appropriate documents, certificates and approvals. If so required, expert opinions from independent sources can be supplied. This also applies to risk analyses, brake calculations, measuring protocols, certificates, etc. These documents can be used as proof for insurance companies and for the employers’ liability insurance.

Already in 2012, the ZRW64AEM was presented to the public, and with great success, indeed. Several vehicles of the ZRW64AEM were delivered to K+S KALI GmbH for use at various locations of this internationally active group of companies. Additional orders were placed by metro operators, e.g. for Milan, Italy and New Delhi, India. At this time, the vehicles for these customers are in the production stage.

At this year’s InnoTrans in Berlin, Windhoff presents the newly developed Diesel-hydrostat vehicle ZRW125DH with a comprehensive range of standard and optional equipment. The larger model ZRW180D will be on the line in the year to come.

The new ZRW designs perfectly complement the Windhoff palette of shunting vehicles. Now, we are in a position to offer optimum rail road shunting vehicles for virtually any type of shunting tasks – a success model strategy for both Windhoff and the growing number of clients.



A visit to the Windhoff stand at this year’s InnoTrans in Berlin should be an absolute must as they will find classic Windhoff products as well as latest developments and innovative news. Aside from the ZRW125DH, visitors have a chance to view and inspect a ZRW35AEM and a ZRW50AEM.

Significant features 


Classic solution for workshops and depots:

Towed mass: up to 500 tons

Drive: Battery-electric


Classic tradition is continued:

Towed mass: up to 700 tons

Drive: Battery-electric


Power for workshops in depots

and harder jobs:

Towed mass: up to 1,000 tons

Drive: Battery-electric


All-round solutions for all areas:

Towed mass: up to 2,000 tons

Drive: Battery-electric, Hybrid, Diesel-hydrostatic


Optimum solution for medium-heavy shunting tasks:

Towed mass: up to 3,000 tons

Drive: Battery-electric, Diesel-hydrostatic


Perfect solutions for heavy shunting operations:

Towed mass: up to 4,400 tons

Drive: Diesel-hydrostatic

The range of products from Windhoff Bahn- und Anlagentechnik GmbH covers all aspects of shunting operations. Starting from simple rope winch spills via closed-loop rope shunting systems with coupling chain, wheelset carts or buffer carts and continuing with a variety of track-bound shunting vehicles (RW), the programme is complemented with shunting locomotives (RL) and rail road shunting vehicles (ZRW). All systems and vehicles have been developed for use in workshops, depots, with port authorities and for industrial sidings. There is an optimum solution for virtually any demand or application.

Windhoff Bahn- und Anlagentechnik GmbH

Hovestrasse 10, 48429 Rheine, Germany

For more information, contact: Michael Bönisch (Senior Sales Manager), mbo@windhoff.de.

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