German and Austrian transport operators plan joint tram procurement

Several transport operators from both Germany and Austria have combined to form a single project group named VDV TramTrain, to jointly order up to 300 trams for their respective urban transport systems.

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

This would entail only one authorisation process for all seven operators. Other advantages of a joint procurement include an estimated cost saving of €1m per vehicle, and joint orders for spare parts.  Overall, the group is aiming to deliver more than €100m in savings.

Commenting, Thorsten Erlenkötter, AVG’s procurement of new vehicles project manager said that 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 late 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 production vehicles begins in 2024.

AVG and VBK will be the largest customers, with a combined requirement for around 180 vehicles for the network around Karlsruhe, Germany.

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.