ÖBB sign

Photos: ÖBB/Wegscheider

AUSTRIA: Stadler has once again been named the winner of a disputed 10-year framework contract to supply Austria Federal Railways with up to 186 double-deck electric multiple-units worth €3bn.

Following a two-year tendering process, ÖBB named Stadler as preferred bidder in 2021, saying the Swiss company had submitted the best technical and commercial bid. However, Alstom then challenged the decision.

Although the objections were rejected, the administrative court found that under Austrian law the Swiss electronic signature which had been used by Stadler was not valid within the EU. The contract award was therefore nullified in September 2021 on procedural grounds.

Stadler said it had used the signature ‘hundreds of times’ in previous EU tenders, including in Austria. In its appeal, it argued that Austrian procurement law includes provision for technical errors in bids to be rectified.

The supreme administrative court has now cleared the way for ÖBB to formally award the framework contract, and Stadler said on February 23 that an initial firm order was expected in the near future.

The four, five and six-car EMUs from Stadler’s Kiss family will be assembled at the company’s double-deck train factory at St Margrethen in Switzerland.

‘We are extremely pleased that, after a delayed tendering process, we have now been legally awarded the contract by ÖBB’, said Chairman Peter Spuhler. ‘Vehicles from Stadler have been operating successfully on Austrian rails for years. The fact that we are now also able to supply the next generation of double-decker multiple-unit trains to Austria with ÖBB fills us with great pride.’