ÖBB signed a framework contract with Siemens in April 2010 for the supply of up to 200 Desiro ML sets over a five-year period. At the time ÖBB was bidding for a contract to operate regional services in Bavaria, which it failed to win, and the company subsequently withdrew completely from tendering for operating contracts outside Austria which meant no firm orders were placed.

Earlier this year ÖBB began looking at options for the replacement of class 4020 emus and older push-pull sets in the Vienna area and began negotiations with Siemens to revive the Desiro contract and place a firm order for 100 sets.

However, there are still some issues to be resolved. Siemens' competitors argue that the dual voltage emus are not in line with the specification covered by the framework contract and that a new tender process would be required.

Some experts also question the wisdom of buying single-deck trains for the Vienna S-Bahn, which saw a 30% increase in ridership between 2009 and 2011. They suggest a new tender which should include options for double-deck stock.

If the Siemens order is allowed to proceed, some final assembly work would take place at ÖBB's Simmering workshops and deliveries would commence in 2015.