BRITAIN’s Go-Ahead Group has agreed to sell its German rail business, Go-Ahead Germany, to Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) subsidiary ÖBB-Passenger.

The transaction is subject to approval by competition authorities but is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Go-Ahead Germany holds three regional operating contracts in Baden-Württemberg and two in Bavaria, accounting for approximately 10 million train-km per year in each state. It began operating in Baden-Württemberg in 2019, followed by Bavaria in 2021.

Go-Ahead says the sale will “future-proof the business,” which group chief executive, Mr Christian Schreyer, says is in “good shape.” He says the company is proud of the services it has provided in “very challenging conditions” in the German passenger market over the past four years and describes ÖBB as a “respected rail operator” with ambitious plans for the German network.

“Go-Ahead remains fully committed to rail in the UK, and to expansion in metropolitan rail elsewhere in the world,” Schreyer says. “I would like to thank all our colleagues in Germany and to offer them our very best wishes for the future.”

Independent company

ÖBB confirmed that Go-Ahead Germany will continue to act as an independent company and will operate its existing contracts under the current management team, led by Mr Fabian Amini, managing director of Go-Ahead Germany, who says that the deal “offers excellent prospects for our passengers, clients and employees.” ÖBB says it was agreed not to disclose the value of the transaction and that it is targeting further growth in the German market.

“With the purchase of Go-Ahead Germany, ÖBB is consistently continuing its internationalisation course,” says ÖBB CEO, Mr Andreas Matthä. “ÖBB is already operating internationally - as the leading provider of night trains in Europe and the second strongest freight railway in the EU, active in 18 countries. We see good potential for even greater growth in passenger transport in southern Germany.”

Go-Ahead Baden-Württemberg operates the Stuttgart electrified network, comprising five lines over 700km in length, including the Rems, Residenz, Filstal, Franken and Murr railways.

Go-Ahead has operated passenger trains in Bavaria since 2021.

Go-Ahead Bavaria began operating the Allgäu electric network between Munich and Lindau in 2021. The Augsburg network was added to its portfolio in December 2022, including services from Augsburg to Munich, Würzburg, Aalen and Ulm.

Go-Ahead operates these services with a fleet of 144 EMUs.

“We see the purchase of Go-Ahead Germany as an investment in the future and therefore as a future partnership,” says Ms Sabine Stock, CEO of ÖBB-Passenger. “The goal is clear: we want to grow together in Germany.”