GERMANY: Deutsche Bahn ratified a decision to order more ICE4 inter-city trainsets for €700m at its supervisory board meeting in Berlin on September 26.

DB Fernverkehr expects to order a further 18 seven-car trainsets from a Siemens-led consortium as an option on the 119 trains already planned for delivery by 2023, of which 19 were seven-car formations and the remainder 12 cars.

In addition, DB is now to buy 50 cars which will be used to lengthen half of the 12-car trainsets already on order to 13 cars. These would be 375 m long and have 918 seats. DB is also understood to be evaluating whether the maximum operating speed of the 13-car ICE4s could be raised from 250 km/h to 265 km/h.

The board meeting also approved a further €320m investment in refurbishing the ICE1 fleet, which dates from 1991.

The decision to proceed with a further investment in the DB Fernverkehr fleet reflects strong growth in inter-city ridership in Germany. However, the move also comes against a backdrop of concern about the financial health of the wider DB group and calls from CEO Richard Lutz to impose tighter restrictions on spending in order to meet financial performance targets set by government.