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The Berlin Senate has decided to establish a rolling stock agency to procure and lease vehicles for use on local rail services.
Draft legislation to establish Landesanstalt für Schienenfahrzeuge Berlin as an ‘institution under public law’ will now be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies for approval. The agency would enable the city government to acquire new rolling stock for use on the S-Bahn network, in conjunction with the tendering of concessions to operate the Nord-Süd and Stadtbahn service groups. Under the plans agreed with the neighbouring Land of Brandenburg, the procurement of rolling stock for both service groups is being tendered separately from the operating contracts, although bidders may bundle the various lots if they wish.
All of the current Berlin S-Bahn fleet is due to be replaced in conjuction with the tendering of the three long-term operating contracts.
According to the Senate, at least 1 308 new S-Bahn cars are to be procured at an estimated cost of up to €3bn, and the revised structure would allow them to remain the property of the Land. It would also help to build up a pool of municipally owned assets.
‘In this way, Berlin is making itself independent of only one operator’, said Transport Senator Regine Günther when the plan was announced on November 24. She explained that the establishment of a state-owned vehicle agency was a central component of its strategy to acquire vehicles as cheaply as possible, avoiding the need for ‘expensive pre-financing of the vehicles by the contracted operator’.
Several other Länder across Germany have already established rolling stock companies to procure vehicles for their regional services and make them available to independent operators, reducing their reliance on Deutsche Bahn and commercial leasing companies.
Brandenburg has not yet decided whether to participate as a stakeholder in LSFB, but the enabling legislation would make provision for it to do so at a later date.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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