The contract covers 67 sets, 51 of which have so far been ordered by ÖBB with seven being passed on to Czech Railways (CD). This means ÖBB can purchase up to nine more sets.

ÖBB says that its fleet of non-Railjet long-distance coaches is ageing and will need to be replaced. This will take time, however, and new inter-city equipment cannot be ordered before 2019 due to financial constraints.

As an interim measure, ÖBB intends to take up the option for the remaining nine Railjets. These trains will be fitted with additional fire protection equipment to meet Italian requirements, enabling them to be used on Munich – Verona and on Vienna – Venice services which at present use standard coaching stock.

ÖBB also says that the number of premium class seats will be reduced in favour of increasing capacity in economy class and that the new sets will have a full restaurant car similar to the CD Railjets.

The order still needs to be approved by the ÖBB supervisory board but talks with Siemens are already well advanced. Deliveries could start next year.