GERMANY: Veolia has withdrawn from the bidding process to run the Stuttgart S-Bahn. Announcing the decision on February 13, Andreas Winter, Head of Market Development & Communication for Veolia-Verkehr-Gruppe in Germany, said that his company was convinced that competitive bidding was possible for 'complex S-Bahnen and large urban public transport networks' but that Stuttgart was 'an un­usual situation'. He cited three reasons for the group's ?decision to pull out.

First was the lack of a site in the Stuttgart area for a new workshop to maintain the S-Bahn fleet. This meant that Veolia would be forced to share facilities with rival bidder Deutsche Bahn at Plochingen; information allowing Veolia to plan maintenance services on this basis had not been made available.

The second reason was the uncertainty generated by the Stuttgart 21 project to build an underground station replacing the present terminus. Detailed information about the timing and extent of the works and their likely impact on services was not available, making it impossible to calculate the cost of the disruption - which would occur during the period of the concession.

Veolia's third ground for withdrawal was the unavailability of information about the technical condition of DB Regio's S-Bahn rolling stock which the concessionaire would be expected to take over. Again, this meant that costs could not be accurately forecast.

Horst Windeisen, Veolia's regional manager for Baden-Württemberg, said that there were too many uncertainties which depended on competitors.

  • A week earlier Veolia subsidiary Nord­WestBahn had won a 16-year contract to run four routes totalling 225 km starting in December 2009. NWB will be required to operate 3·2 million train-km a year on the Niers-Rhein-Emscher network linking Düsseldorf, Duisburg and Oberhausen. Rolling stock will consist of around 30 Lint41 DMUs, and around 100 staff will be employed.