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DB stops accepting ICE4 trains after welding issues discovered

05 Apr 2019

GERMANY: Deutsche Bahn has stopped accepting deliveries of new ICE4 trainsets, after it emerged that bodyshell welding had not been carried out as prescribed.

Siemens Mobility is the general contractor for the ICE4 fleet under a framework contract awarded in May 2011, with subcontractor Bombardier Transportation responsible around 30% of the overall project, including the bodyshells and inside-framed bogies and finishing work for three of the car types, including the driving vehicles.

The two suppliers issued a joint statement on April 4 saying Bombardier’s quality management procedures had determined that individual welds on the coach bodies had not been carried out as prescribed. They said this was not a safety issue, the bodies currently in production complied with the agreed quality standards and there were ‘currently no indications’ that the issue would have any impact on the trains already in service. Siemens and Bombardier have informed the Federal Railway Authority of the situation.

DB said the trainsets were safe and there was no impact on customers. However, the bodyshells did not meet the contractually-agreed quality standards and this could lead to higher long-term maintenance requirements.

The operator has requested that the manufacturers repair all affected vehicles within the scope of the warranty provisions. The details of this process are currently being worked out and DB said it would not be accepting any further ICE4 trainsets until a final agreement was reached.