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Germany: DB to order 30 high-speed trains

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German Railway DB train

German Rail (DB) announced on September 20 that it will place an order for 30 high-speed trains and cut the price of inter-city tickets by 10% after the federal government cut VAT on long-distance rail fares from 19% to 7% as part of a broader package of measures to combat climate change.

The additional 300km/h trains will be delivered by the end of 2022, providing 13,000 additional seats per day. Together with the 74 ICE 4 sets already on order, this will expand DB’s ICE fleet from 282 to 386 trains over the next three years.

DB forecasts the reduction in VAT will increase annual ridership on long-distance services by around five million. The cheapest ICE fare will fall to €13.40 with the BahnCard, which DB says is the lowest standard ticket price in real terms since the creation of DB AG in 1994.

The 7% VAT rate will apply to all journeys of more than 50km, a reduction which has been already been applied to shorter-distance rail travel in Germany.

“I’m sure that more attractive prices will trigger more demand,” says DB CEO Dr Richard Lutz. “We will pass on the reduction to our customers and also waive a price increase.”

Under its ‘Strong Rail’ strategy, which was unveiled in June, DB aims to increase long-distance capacity by up to 100% and double passenger numbers to 260 million a year.

The strategy aims to support the federal government’s greenhouse gas reduction targets by stimulating a modal shift of freight and passenger traffic to rail. DB also plans to switch all traction energy to renewable sources by 2038.

Earlier this month DB signed a five-year contract for renewable energy from the Nordsee-Ost wind farm located off the northwest coast of Germany.

The VAT cut is part of a package of measures agreed by Germany’s coalition government on September 20 which will inject €54bn into the fight against climate change by 2023.

The package also includes an extra €2bn in federal funding for regional rail, trials of €365 annual public transport passes, and a federal law to increase aviation taxes.

In June, the Community of Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) called on governments across Europe to end the tax-free status of aviation fuel to promote less polluting forms of transport.

The government’s announcement came as thousands took to the streets in cities across Germany as part of the global climate strike.

Source: railjournal.com

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First Citadis LRV for Paris T9 inaugurated

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Alstom Tram Citadis

The first Citadis LRV designed and built by Alstom for the Paris light rail Line T9 was inaugurated in Orly on December 3. The vehicle was launched by Ms Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region and president of Île-de-France Mobilités, Mr Christian Favier, president of the Departmental Council of Val-de-Marne, Ms Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, and Mr Michel Lepêtre, president of the Grand-Orly Seine Bièvre EPT (Public Territorial Establishment).

Île-de-France Mobilités awarded Alstom a €70m contract in November 2016 to supply 22 Citadis X05 LRVs, which are due to enter service in December 2020 on Line T9 which connects Porte de Choisy to the suburb of Orly. Delivery began in November and will be completed in October 2020.

The 45m-long vehicles can carry up to 314 passengers. The design was created in partnership between Alstom’s design and styling teams and the Design Saguez & Partners agency.

The Citadis LRV has eight double doors on each side along with an enlarged, interior that facilitates movement and speeds up boarding and alighting by 20%. It features 45% glass surfaces, 100% LED lighting, eight multimedia screens displaying a dynamic route map, USB sockets and bench seats.

Alstom says the LRV is also more energy efficient than the previous Citadis LRVs with improved energy consumption linked to the traction and auxiliaries. The overall cost of preventative maintenance has been reduced by 18%, and the materials used are 99% recyclable.

 

Source: railjournal.com

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Athens Metro Line 4: Signing of the «golden» contract approaches

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Μετροπόντικας κατά την εκσκαφή

A major step regarding the tender for Athens Metro Line 4 is expected in the following days as, according to well-informed sources, Attiko Metro’s BoD will reach a decision for the continuation of the process.

This means that the tender will resume and, for a period of 10 days, the 2 remaining consortia will be able to scrutinize each other’s technical dossiers.

Then, if they wish, they will be able to file appeals against each other for a period of about 30 days, that -once again- could go as high as the Council of State.

This will be the next crucial point for the completion of the tender. Market sources are quite sure that both parties will try in a legal way to disqualify their opponent in order to continue alone in the 1.8bn-euro (incl. VAT) «golden» bids.

«The contract is that big, giving so much business and financial strength to the winner for the next decade, that it will take a battle that may be judged on the most unlikely deficiencies that could be observed in the technical offers», the same sources told ypodomes.com.

A turning point for the tender

In Attiko Metro, however, they do not hide their optimism that, in any case, after a «difficult» 2019 with multiple judicial hurdles, we are finally at the end of the process.

A major goal is for the contract to be signed in 2020, allowing the beginning of the construction phase. For now, there are not any guesses on when exactly we will reach the «point zero» of the tender, which is the day when the bids are going to open.

In the event that both AKTOR-ANSALDOBREDA-HITACHI consortium and AVAX-GHELLA-ALSTOM consortium are still in the race, we will have to wait in order to find out who will become the contractor for the construction of Athens’ new Metro Line 4.

The absolute criterion will be the discount rate. Officials close to the tender believe there won’t be any very big discounts due to the very high budget that increases dramatically the risk.

The «golden» contract will have an initial duration of 96 months, that is, 8 years. The funding of the project will be secured by NSRF 2014-2020 and EIB.

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Battery trains to be tested in Denmark

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Τραίνο που κινείται με μπαταρίες

Suppliers are to be invited to test battery-powered trains on regional lines in late 2020 and early 2021, ahead of a potential order which could see battery trains enter passenger service from 2025.

Under an agreement between the Ministry of Transport & Housing and the Sjælland, Midtjylland and Capital Region authorities, trials are to be undertaken on HL’s Helsingør – Hillerød line north of København and on the Lemvigbanen linking Vemb, Lemvig and Thyborøn in Jylland.

The agreement announced on November 29 follows a study into options for battery operation in northwest Sjælland which was undertaken by the ministry, national operator DSB and Movia.

This analysis found that the Holbæk – Nykøbing Sjælland local line would be suitable for battery operation, with the need to replace the current diesel trains in around 2025 providing an economically sensible time to switch. Battery trains could also be used on the Kalundborg – København route, with co-ordination allowing the provision of though services between Nykøbing Sjælland and København.

‘A test of battery trains in Denmark will provide the parties with useful experience from practical operation before we potentially place an order’, explained Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht. ‘At the same time, it will allow passengers to try battery trains in everyday life. My hope is that from the mid-2020s we will see battery trains in daily operation.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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