ÖBB currently operates a fleet of 100 of the four-axle diesel locomotives and a further five units are owned by Rail Cargo Austria’s (RCA) German subsidiary PCT (class 223).

RCA is already using some class 2016s in Slovenia and Croatia, but additional locomotives are needed in Austria and RCA wants to use more class 2016s on freight trains in eastern Europe. The type is already approved for operation in Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic in addition to Slovenia and Croatia.

Second-hand locomotives are being sought because the recent tender for new electric locomotives did not result in any offers for units with high-powered diesel engines for use on non-electrified lines outside Austria.

Siemens no longer produces the ER20 which means ÖBB will have to obtain existing locomotives from other operators or leasing companies.

The tender calls for 19 individual contracts so offers from various owners could be accepted simultaneously. One of the candidates is Austrian open-access operator RTS which recently downsized its business and has some surplus class 2016 on its roster.

The deadline for submission of offers is February 24.