The announcement came after the Bavarian Railway Authority (BEG) selected DB Regio Oberbayern as the winner of the tender to operate the Ringzug West/NBS concession for 12 years from December 2016. The concession covers three routes:
- Treuchtlingen – Ingolstadt – Munich
- Nuremberg – Ingolstadt – Munich (via the high-speed line), and
- Nuremberg – Treuchtlingen – Augsburg.
All services will be operated by new trains. DB Regio will use Bombardier Twindexx Vario emus, similar to those ordered recently for the Main-Spessart regional express concession, on Treuchtlingen – Munich and Nuremberg – Augsburg services, while the Nuremberg – Munich Express services will be operated by Škoda locomotives and double-deck push-pull sets.
In addition to the locomotives, Škoda will supply 36 200km/h double-deck coaches, which will be formed into six six-car trains. Each air-conditioned set will seat 679 passengers in standard class and 26 in first class. There will be 82 folding seats and 2 spaces for passengers with wheelchairs, together with a multifunctional area with capacity for up to 37 bikes.
In line with the requirements of BEG, the coaches will have an entrance height of 760mm. The vehicles will be assembled by Škoda Vagonka at its Ostrava plant in the Czech Republic, while the locomotives will be built in Plzen.
For Škoda the order represents a major breakthrough in the western European market. The 109E was granted an EC Declaration of Conformity in April by EisenbahnCert, Germany, and the locomotive will be certified for operation in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany with the Authorisation to Place into Service based on the TSI High Speed Rolling Stock. The 109E is already in operation with Czech Railways (ČD), albeit with certification based on a declaration of no-objection.
The selection of the Škoda electric locomotive and last year's framework order for Link dmus from Poland demonstrate a significant shift in DB rolling stock procurement policy, which appears increasingly open to suppliers from central and eastern Europe.