Error
  • JUser::_load: Unable to load user with id: 79
May 12, 2010

SBB picks Bombardier for record contract

Written by 
  • Print
  • Email
BOMBARDIER has come out on top in the bidding to secure Swiss Federal Railways' (SBB) largest ever rolling stock order.

The SFr 1.86 billion ($US 1.67 billion) contract is for 59 double-deck long-distance trains that will be delivered in phases from December 2013, with the final delivery expected by the end of 2019. The trains will be operated first on inter-city services on the St Gallen - Geneva and Romanshorn - Brig lines, and inter-regional services between Zurich and Lucerne, and will eventually be deployed on other routes throughout Switzerland. The deal also includes options for more than 100 additional trains which will be built in Villeneuve, Switzerland and Gölitz, Germany.
 
Stadler and Siemens were also in the running for the contract, but SBB says that Bombardier was ultimately selected after it scored highest in all four bidding criteria. The company's bid was particularly praised for providing impressive levels of passenger comfort as well as cost-effectiveness. It was also the lowest in terms of procurement and lifecycle costs.
 
fv_dosto_station.jpgSpecifically Bombardier vehicles had the widest interiors and the largest capacity of those reviewed, with the 436 coaches ordered providing over 36,000 seats. The trains have energy-efficient power units which enable energy savings of around 10%, as well as equally spaced doors for effective boarding and alighting from trains.
 
The trains will also be fitted with Bombardier's passive tilting technology, featured in IRJ May 2010, which will enable them to negotiate curves faster by allowing a tilt of up to two degrees, reducing overall journey times by up to 10%. It is estimated that the technology will cost SFr 100 million to implement, but will save over SFr 1 billion in infrastructure improvements that would have been required to reduce journey times. Bombardier will, however, have to pay a SFr 100 million fine if testing of the system, which is expected to be completed by 2016, is unsuccessful and the trains are operated conventionally.
 

"Objectively, Bombardier's was the best bid that matched our specifications and offered us a very customer-friendly train," says SBB CEO Mr Andreas Meyer. "Modern trains and a further improved offering will provide our customers with numerous tangible benefits. What is more the passive tilt capacity of these trains will give us additional journey-time leeway throughout the network. This increases punctuality and leads to fewer missed connections."

Rival bidder Stadler expressed disappointment that it had failed to secure the contract with SBB. The company says that while there are sufficient contracts to retain its Swiss employment levels up to 2013, after this period things are more uncertain.

"Whether Stadler Rail will be able to retain a two-thirds export share to compensate for the loss of the SBB order is questionable," says Mr Peter Spuhler, CEO and majority shareholder of Stadler Rail. "This is particularly disappointing given the distinctive current weakness in the Euro which is putting us under additional pressure."

The rolling stock order is part of SBB's commitment to spend SFr 20 billion over the next 20 years to increase capacity. It estimates that it needs 120,000 extra seats on its long-distance services and to replace its older non air conditioned rolling stock. The funds for the procurements must come entirely from SBB's operating profits.

"It is an important step in the continued improvement of our services," Meyer says.

Get the latest rail news

IRJ Rail Brief newsletter covers global railway news