Under the VDV-Tram-Train project, six German and Austrian public transport companies have launched a common EUR 4 billion tender for the procurement of 504 tram-trains. The tender also includes the maintenance contract for a period of 32 years.
“This is an unprecedented project that we can all be proud of. I am happy and relieved that our three years of work together is now bearing fruit. We are now very excited about the offers,” said Ascan Egerer, the technical director of Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (AVG) and Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe (VBK).
The Karlsruhe transport company is responsible for the overall project management.
VBK Saarbahn Netz, Schiene Oberösterreich, the transport operator in Upper Austrian region, State of Salzburg and the regional Stadtbahn Neckar-Alb association are the project partners. The common tender will help companies to save up to EUR 1 million per vehicle. “That was the goal from the beginning to keep the tram-trains competitive compared to cheaper full-rail multiple units. The industrial dialogue that we have conducted within the well-known rail vehicle manufacturers as part of the project showed that, on the one hand, the desired significant savings are possible for all partners and, on the other hand, that the manufacturer can actually implement the requirements of our technical specifications ”, said Thomas Erlenkotter, the project manager from the VBK.
Under the EUR 4 billion tender, the tram-trains will have a standard design for which the development and approval costs will be funded the project partners, which will allow major savings. In addition. five variants are to be proposed that meet each operator specific requirements such as entry height, as well as the paintwork.
For example, Karlsruhe will need a unidirectional vehicle for the city’s tram-train system, while the State of Salzburg will require a version able to operate below 750 volts or 1000 volts DC. Saarbahn will acquire a basic variant without specific requirements and will be the first one which will receive the first vehicles, expected to be delivered in July 2024.
AVG and Saarbahn are the project partners are successfully operating a regional light rail system for decades while the other four companies will introduce new connections between the city and their region, benefiting the experienced partners. “The exchange of experiences was also an essential goal of our joint project. Because the nice thing about our industry is that we are not competitors, we all have the common goal of convincing as many people as possible to switch from cars to public transport. This requires attractive offers, as the tram-train systems in Karlsruhe and Saarbrücken network,” said Martin Schmitz, the VDV director of technology said.
The deliveries will take place under a 10-year schedule established by the companies. The tender also includes the maintenance service which is a “great advantage. The manufacturer will be responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles’ life-cycle, which is a guarantee of a long-term good quality and availability of the new vehicles,” Thorsten Erlenkötter said.
The winner of the EUR 4 billion tender will be responsible for the design, construction and approval of the new regional and urban rail vehicles.
In 2019, five German transport companies have announced their intention to launch a common tender for the acquisition of 240 new tram-trains.