Deutsche Bahn picks Siemens as ‘preferred bidder’ for train order

Germany's rail operator Deutsche Bahn Monday said it had selected industrial giant Siemens as its "preferred bidder" for a record order of 300 trains worth up to €6 billion.

Deutsche Bahn picks Siemens as 'preferred bidder' for train order
Photo: DPA

“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.

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German train drivers announce strikes after pay talks collapse

The German Train Driver’s Union (GDL) has declared that it is going to start a round of strikes on Deutsche Bahn services after pay talks with the state-owned company broke down.

A train arrives at Berlin central station. credit: dpa | Wolfgang Kumm
A train arrives at Berlin central station. credit: dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

After four rounds of talks on a new pay deal for Deutsche Bahn’s train drivers, the GDL union has said that it will call on its members to go on strike.

“We wanted to negotiate and reach an agreement, but Deutsche Bahn refused again,” said union boss Claus Weselsky.

The union has not said when the strikes are planned for, or which services will be hit.

However, as more people are travelling around Germany now as tourism opens up after the shutdown, it could be a major blow to domestic holidaymakers and businesses. 

Deutsche Bahn claims that it offered the union a pay package equivalent to one that was agreed between the government and state employees last year. That agreement guaranteed a pay rise of 3.2 percent over 28 months.

Last September Deutsche Bahn agreed a pay increase of 1.5 percent with the much larger Rail and Transport Union, which represents some 215,000 of the company’s employees.

But the GDL, which has a reputation for hard-line negotiating, refused to take part in the talks.

The strikes come at a time when Deutsche Bahn’s services are just starting to recover after more than a year of restrictions due to the pandemic.

When the GDL last went on strike in 2015 Weselsky proved to be a tough negotiating partner, with drivers taking to the picket lines in a series of actions that stretched over several months.

The strikes six years ago culminated in the longest rail strike in German history – a six day walk out that brought chaos to the transport system and cost the economy an estimated half a billion euros.