Škoda Transportation wins major foothold in German market with multi-billion crown rail order

Photo: Škoda Transportations Archive

Škoda Transportation has secured its second major contract in Germany, a deal providing 38 electric single-floor trains for Nuremberg. The deal is worth 10 billion crowns and should open new opportunities for Škoda Transportation on western European markets.

Photo: Škoda Transportations Archive
I spoke to company Vice-President Zdeněk Majer.

“We are very happy of course with the result. First that the British operator, National Express, opted for our vehicle concept and that BEG or Bayerische Eisenbahngesellschaft (Bavarian Railways Company) awarded the final contract to National Express. It is very significant for us. One reason why I think we had an edge is this: if you visit Nuremburg today the vehicles – Bombardier Talents – currently being operated by Deutsche Bahn, you have in fact two four-car units which are always coupled together. We offered a simpler solution: one train for four hundred passengers, meaning we saved two driver caps and two couplers. This concept hand-in-hand with an optimal mix between lifecycle costs, low-energy consumption, I think, were all factors which decided the tender in our favour.”

Does this success improve Škoda Transportation’s positon on the German and other European markets regarding future potential deals?

Photo: Czech Government Archive
“Yes, I would say for us it is a key contract. We had one previous contract with Deutsche Bahn in the summer of 2013 which was a start-up contract. Since that time we have been in contact with several private operators and national ones as well. But this deal is a big reference, when you consider we are talking about almost 200 cars, a large fleet. We do think this will be a further step in placing more of our products not only on the German market but other European markets: possibly Benelux, Scandinavia, in general in western Europe and not just central and eastern Europe as was the case before now.”

The liberalization of the market is also opening up new possibilities…

“Yes. In terms of liberalization, there are new operators appearing on the market. If we talk about National Express, they are not new in Great Britain of course, they are long established, but they are new in central Europe. Our focus is now on western Europe and we are able to work with both private and national operators in potential deals. Essential in any deal is to try and meet the specific requests of the customer launching the tender, be they private or national. And sometimes it is better to work with a private partner, sometimes a national one, in putting together a proposal and bidding for a tender.”