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Investing in rolling stock for future performance

Posted: 26 March 2009 | Craig Waters, Commissioning Editor, Global Railway Review | No comments yet

Craig Waters highlights the important investments that Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) is making to ensure their passenger services are first class.

Craig Waters highlights the important investments that Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) is making to ensure their passenger services are first class.

Train operating companies obviously need reliable and robust rolling stock in order to provide efficient and effective services to their passengers. This is of course an obvious fact to point out, but an imperative issue nonetheless.

Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) needs no introduction in this German Profile issue of Global Railway Review, but the company has made many recent orders for new rolling stock and I think it is important to take this opportunity to highlight the important investments that the company is making to ensure their passenger services are first class.

Double-deck coaches from Bombardier Transportation

It was announced on 5th January 2009, that DB AG and Bombardier Transportation had signed a framework agreement for 800 double-deck coaches with a total volume of up to €1.5 billion. With the new generation of vehicles, DB AG will actively compete for tenders in the local rail transport market throughout 2009.

Speaking about the new agreement, DB AG’s CEO, Hartmut Mehdorn commented: “In particular in these difficult times, we have decided to invest in the future. This decision is also intended to communicate an economic message. It will enable us to make outstanding transport bids in the regional transportation market and offer convincing quality. Economical and powerful transportation demands a modern fleet of energy-saving vehicles that can be used in flexible combination with one another.

Double-deck coaches in Germany

Double-deck vehicles in Germany have a long tradition. They have been used regularly for around 100 years in regional traffic and in long-distance and night trains.

The double-deck vehicles manufactured by Bombardier in their present-day version have also been in service with DB AG for years on regional services with great success and high levels of popularity. Since 1992, more than 1,000 vehicles have been delivered to DB AG.

Trust

André Navarri, President of Bombardier Transportation, explains: “The new generation of double-deck coaches is also an outstanding example of our continuous product innovation here at Bombardier Transportation. It is now possible to combine double-deck coaches with multiple-unit technology. This is the largest framework agreement for vehicles that DB has ever awarded to a single supplier. We are very pleased with this trust.”

Operating flexible vehicles for economical operations is very important, and Ulrich Homburg, Chairman of the Management Board of DB Regio (the subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn that operates passenger trains on short and medium distances in Germany) underscores this importance: “For the first time ever, we will have powered double-deck coaches in our fleet. Individual coaches, driving trailers or trailer coaches can be added as well, depending on what the trains are being used for in the respective local transportation networks. In addition, the vehicles are compatible with other generations and will thus create cost benefits in operation. The added quality and comfort for customers will furthermore improve out position in future local transportation tenders and help to safeguard jobs in the DB Group.”

TALENT 2 trains from Bombardier Transportation

In early October 2008, Deutsche Bahn AG made it known that the company had placed another firm order with Bombardier Transportation for a further 15 TALENT 2 trains which will start operation at the end of 2010 as Rhine-Sieg-Express on the Aachen-Cologne-Siegen route.

The order is worth approximately €60 million, and the recently developed TALENT 2 electrical multiple unit platform (the 442 series) is characterised by its modular concept and its high degree of standardisation. This provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of configuration, along with cost-effectiveness and cost transparency. The innovative, modular construction principle results in up to 250 variants of the same train type being possible.

For passengers who have impaired mobility, sight or hearing, tactile lettering on all controls along with audible and visual passenger information throughout the train will make the journey more enjoyable. In addition, the Rhine-Sieg Express vehicles will be designed with an entry platform height of 800mm. Boarding at stations with lower platforms will be made easier for passenger by means of an additional sliding step.

Overall, the trains’ modern interior and exterior design, as well as the space it offers to move about freely, creates greater transparency and helps passengers feel safer.

ICE trains from Siemens

Towards the end of December 2008, it was announced that Deutsche Bahn has ordered 15 international high-speed ICE trains from Siemens. The contract was signed by DB AG’s CEO, Hartmut Mehdorn and Peter Löscher and to the volume of roughly €500 million.

Speaking about the contract, Hartmut Mehdorn said: “By doing so, we are launching a major economic upswing programme for the rail industry in Germany and safeguarding jobs at the same time when the economy urgently needs such new impetus.”

A major milestone

Peter Löscher, CEO of Siemens, believes the order is a major milestone in the partnership between Siemens and Deutsche Bahn. He commented: “We are delighted at DB’s confidecence in our Velaro high-speed train, which has already enjoyed international success and now – after China, Russia and Spain – will also run as an ICE 3 in its home country.”

The ICE is built at the Siemens plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen and will safeguard a total of approximately 2000 jobs in Germany.

In operation by December 2011

The ICE 3 consists of eight individual coaches and can carry up to 485 passengers. It will be equipped with redimensioned axle shafts and can run at speeds of up to 320km/h. The first vehicles are scheduled to go into operation in December 2011 and the first trains will be available for in-depth testing in summer 2001. All 15 multiple units are to be delivered by 2012. As in its predecessor, the drive system in the new ICE 3 is positioned under the floor along the entire length of the train, making it particularly capable of strong spurts. The electric brake allows regenerative braking, which means energy is returned to the overhead line, which also benefits the environment.

Summary

With these three recent orders, Deutsche Bahn AG is showing a significant dedication to not only safeguarding jobs within Germany, but it also highlights their continued commitment to provide high-quality passenger transportation.

BOMBARDIER and TALENT 2 are registered trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiary companies.

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