"Siemens is our preferred bidder in this tender process. Even in economically difficult times, the modernisation of our fleet has the highest priority for us," said Deutsche Bahn chief Rüdiger Grube in a statement.
"We aim to push this process forward quickly in the next few months," continued Grube, adding the tender was "the biggest investment in vehicles in the history of Deutsche Bahn."
The new generation of ICx locomotives are meant to replace Deutsche Bahn's ageing fleet of Intercity trains starting in 2015. Many of the IC and EC trains have been refurbished but are up to 30 years old. The new models will then be used to replace the first generation of high-speed ICE trains in 2020.
For its part, Siemens welcomed the announcement but warned that tough negotiations lay ahead.
"This decision is an important step but we have not yet reached our goal. Now the real talks begin," said Hans-Jörg Grundmann, head of the firm's transport division.