AUSTRIAN Federal Railways (ÖBB) has confirmed to Stadler that it will restart the tender process for a framework contract to supply up to 186 double-deck trains after the Austrian Federal Administrative Court declared the contract was null and void last month due to an alleged formal error in the offer’s qualified electronic signature. Stadler has criticised the move and says it will appeal the decision.

In a statement on October 8, the manufacturer says it “deeply regrets” the decision by ÖBB to re-tender the framework agreement rather than rectifying the alleged formal error objected to by the court. ÖBB informed Stadler that it is forced by the first-instance decision of the court to revoke the contract. Stadler says it will now exhaust all legal remedies at its disposal.

Stadler says that the court annulled the decision and had intervened following an objection by Alstom, which had bid for the tender but had been excluded from the proceedings. All the points raised by Alstom were dismissed by the court.

Stadler says the electronic signature declared by the Austrian Federal Administrative Court to be an alleged formal error is recognised by the competent international authorities and has already been used hundreds of times by Stadler when participating in tenders in the European Union. The manufacturer says it has signed numerous bids this way and won the contracts, including an order from ÖBB for the delivery of rescue trains in January 2021.