IRJ - September 2010 - (Page 48)
of alternative German operations after DB purchased approaches to the British operator earlier this year finance. Leister says might also fuel further competition. that some local Leister says that while the market is yet government to confirm the procedure for the authorities are division of Arriva, he says that Keolis looking at supporting might join what he expects to be a host investments in new of bidders for the company’s assets, trains to reduce which includes 30.2 million train-km contracted operating per year on 546km of lines throughout costs. “The banks in Germany. Any acquisition will therefore particular are much substantially increase Keolis’ presence, more interested in allowing it for the first time to penetrate such guarantees,” markets outside North Rhine he says. Westphalia. Another option As for introducing an SNCF-Keolis being examined by long-distance service to compete some transport directly with DB, Leister says that plans authorities is for such a venture resulted in requests ensuring that trains for paths from DB Networks when the are used beyond one five-year framework contract was open operating contract in 2009. However, DB Networks’ period to make requirement to start using the paths by purchasing more autumn 2011 at the latest, combined attractive to leasing with a lack of suitable rolling stock, companies and to meant that Keolis decided to withdraw provide future its interest for now, although Leister flexibility. did not rule out a similar foray when For example, the process opens again in 2014: “We the Stadler Flirt emus continue to look at the market so maybe Eurobahn Stadler Flirt emus are yet to secure full approval leased from Alpha in the future,” he says. from the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA). Trains by Eurobahn the costs of providing public transport are designed to be interoperable with Conflict of interest while also improving the quality of those from other operators in North trains. While the signs increasingly point to Rhein Westphalia such as Abellio or Leister is similarly keen to point out a future of free and open competition in Westfalenbahn, following the the disparity between the German Germany, Leister says there is one major requirements introduced by Rhein-Ruhr market’s private operators and the stumbling block to reaching a truly Transport (VRR). position public companies find competitive market - the ambiguous The pending break-up of Arriva’s themselves in when bidding for these contracts, particularly during a Eurobahn left short as EBA moves the goalposts recession, even though with SNCF its main shareholder, Keolis is also largely UROBAHN was at the centre around electromagnetic interference, state-funded. of the major problems affecting in mid-2009 while the new trains Specifically he refers to Keolis’ recent several operators and being built by Stadler and other experiences with the Berlinmanufacturers late in 2009 when the manufacturers were already partBrandenburg Transport Association’s German Federal Railway Authority finished. (VBB) concessions which were awarded (EBA) refused for three months to Leister says that since the incident in 2009 to DB Regio and East German approve a fleet of 14 five-car Stadler the train manufacturers, EBA and the Railway (Odeg), a joint venture Flirt emus ordered for the Maasgovernment have discussed how to between Benex, a subsidiary of Rhein-Lippe network. avoid similar problems in the future. Hamburger Hochbahn, and Arriva. Substitute trains were hired initially The manufacturers argue that there “The market is competitive but the from DB Regio and later from other has to be a point in time when the nature of the competition has changed operators to make up the shortfall in design for a new train is frozen and since the financial crisis,” Leister says. Eurobahn’s fleet. And while the Flirts that from that point EBA cannot “Private companies are now much more were approved for use by EBA in change the technical standards against reluctant to take the financial risks February, they have only secured which the train will be tested. around new trains. We prepared a bid partial approval and are not permitted Leister says the discussion is [for Berlin-Brandenburg] but in the end to operate beyond 65% of maximum ongoing, yet expressed frustration at did not submit it as the financial risks power when accelerating up to the situation. “It’s crazy that the around train leasing were too big at the 40km/h, although schedules have not authorities expect the manufacturers time. The situation is now a little better been affected. to follow theoretical standards set in with evidence that leasing companies The root cause of the approval the future,” he says. “If our problems are coming back to the market.” problem was that EBA had issued [with the Flirt approval] brought it Among the signs that the situation is updated safety standards, especially into public view, then that was good.” improving is the growing exploration
IRJ September 2010
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