German and Austrian cities plan joint tram procurement

14 November 2017

A group of German and Austrian transport operators have joined forces to buy a new generation of trams.

The operators, including seven German companies and one from Austria, formed a single project group headed by the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) with a target to deliver more than €100m in savings.

Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (AVG), one of the participating German transport authorities, said the project group, named VDV TramTrain, would place a joint order for the new tram-trains in order to bring down costs and make the transport mode more commerically viable.

VDV said the group could order up to 300 vehicles if there were no fundamental changes in the operators’ contracts. AVG and VBK would be the largest customers, with a combined requirement of around 180 vehicles for the network around Karlsruhe.

VDV added Thorsten Erlenkötter, AVG procurement of new vehicles project manager, would lead the project group with the support of VDV.

Erlenkötter said to overcome variations in infrastructure, such as differing platform heights between the participating cities, the group would specify a uniform body shell and traction system, which could then be customised for each city.

“You can look at it like buying a car—we are ordering a model that will be available in two or four-door versions with different colours and special accessories,” he said. 

“After delivery you can get spare parts together, consult jointly with experts, create a vehicle reserve and strengthen your negotiating position with manufacturers.”

The project partners plan to issue the joint tender in autumn 2018, which would enable the delivery of the first vehicle by autumn 2021. Up to four vehicles will then be tested on each of the participating networks before delivery of the production vehicles begins in 2024.

The project group includes Germany’s Karlsruhe transport authorities Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (AVG) and Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe (VBK), Saarland tram-train operator Saarbahn Netz, Kassel operator Kasseler Verkehrs-Gesellschaft(KVG), Erm-Neckar-Bahn and Regional Tangent West of Germany's Rhine-Main area and Upper Austria’s Schiene Oberöserreich.

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