FURTHER consolidation in the world rolling stock industry could be in the offing. Stories surfaced in mid-August about the possibility of Bombardier moving closer to Siemens, with speculation ranging from a merger to Bombardier acquiring Siemens factories supplying traction equipment - which is precisely what is missing in the Canadian-based group's transport portfolio.

Bombardier confirmed on August 20 that discussions were under way with Siemens in Germany in the context of co-operation on a range of projects already in hand. Another Bombardier spokesman read out a prepared statement which included a remark that 'Bombardier is always interested in strengthening and expanding its activities'.

A major factor in any decision will be whether closer co-operation will be sanctioned by national and European competition regulators. If it is, Alstom and Adtranz could be left with just one major competitor. That doesn't leave many bottles to accidentally fall.