Austrian train operating company WESTbahn has purchased 15 Stadler KISS double-decker trains. The contract for these intercity trains also includes a comprehensive maintenance provision to ensure the fleet is highly available.
This current order marks the third time WESTbahn has bought trains from Stadler. Stadler was able to assert itself against Chinese rival CRRC. The China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation offered a less appealing overall package in terms of rolling stock, maintenance and financing.
There were three parties who signed the contract: Stadler, WESTbahn and Austrian Train Finance AG. The contract value for the 15 six-car double-decker multiple units is around 300 million euros. The ROSCO Austrian Train Finance AG is leasing the trains to WESTbahn.
“I am proud that we have been able to supply WESTbahn with further state-of-the-art intercity double-decker trains. At the same time, this contract will also enable us to further expand our service business. I am also pleased that we prevailed against the Chinese thanks to our attractive customer-specific overall package.”
The Stadler KISS trains will replace the existing WESTbahn fleet running on the Vienna-Salzburg route. WESTbahn is selling the old fleet to Deutsche Bahn.
The maintenance provision in the contract covers preventive and corrective maintenance services as well as the main servicing and revisions. Stadler says that thanks to the new energy-efficient double-decker trains and the optimised maintenance solution, private operator WESTbahn will receive a highly available fleet.
The 15 six-car double-decker EMUs, type KISS, are identical in construction to the trains that started operating for WESTbahn in 2017. The trains will have a top speed of 200km/h with 526 seats. The four central cars all include a modern self-serve café. Unusually, these trains will feature sex-segregated toilets. Furthermore, there will be one accessible toilet – presumably this one will be for both men and women.
Stadler says the trains will deliver pleasant air-conditioning and boast powerful wifi, boosting passenger experience.
Overall the trains will be 150m long, 2.8m wide and 4.59m high.
WESTbahn announced on 21 July 2019 that it would be selling its entire existing fleet to Deutsche Bahn. Since WESTbahn’s first-generation trains are not yet approved for operations on the German rail network, and the second-generation trains are to get an upgrade from 160 to 200km/h, Stadler will also perform the refurbishments and homologation for Germany of the 17 trains for Deutsche Bahn.
Deutsche Bahn will receive the first set of the 17 WESTbahn train in December 2019. The remaining vehicles will then join DB after WESTbahn has received the new vehicles. According to the contract, Stadler will deliver these in 2021.
The first Stadler KISS trains started operating on the Vienna-Salzburg route in 2011. Because of their high levels of availability and punctuality, demand increased. Consequently WESTbahn ordered ten further KISS trains in December 2014. This allowed WESTbahn to introduce the 30-minute schedule on the Vienna-Salzburg intercity route.
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