Rail News

Siemens & Bombardier Must Improve ICE 4 Car Bodies

Deutsche Bahn has challenged manufacturers Siemens and Bombardier to make improvements to the ICE 4 car bodies. The German rail operator says they do not meet their high quality standards. DB does, however, insist that all ICE 4 trains are safe and customers have not been inconvenienced in any way. 

Siemens and Bombardier manufacture Deutsche Bahn's flagship ICE 4 train
Siemens and Bombardier manufacture Deutsche Bahn’s flagship ICE 4 train © Deutsche Bahn / Siemens AG

Deutsche Bahn says that some of the ICE 4 railway vehicle bodies do not meet the quality standards that it agreed with the manufacturers in their contracts. This could lead to greater maintenance requirements in the future, DB said. Other than the cost implication, Deutsche Bahn is struggling to keep up with passenger demand and therefore cannot afford to take additional trains out of service.

Bombardier and Siemens Discover ICE 4 Quality Problems

Bombardier Transportation and Siemens AG announced together that Bombardier discovered the quality issues as part of its quality management service.

German newspaper Die Zeit reported that the issue lay with the welding seams. Deutsche Bahn has also confirmed that all ICE 4 trains affected will remain in operation. Die Zeit further reports that news agency dpa discovered that the issues with the welding seams were down to the work of a single employee in a Polish factory who has been let go.

Related Post:  Stadler Giruno High-Speed Train for the Gotthard Receives Operating Licence

However, Deutsche Bahn wants to emphasise:

“All ICE 4 vehicles were and are completely safe.”

Bombardier Transportation is responsible for the manufacture of the ICE 4 car body shells as a subcontractor of Siemens AG. Deutsche Bahn has challenged the manufacturers to make immediate improvements to the affected vehicles as part of the warranty. The parties are currently working out the details, which Deutsche Bahn and the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) will then approve. Until there is a final improvement concept, DB has decided it will not receive any further ICE 4 trains from the manufacturer. It insists: this issue has not caused any inconveniences to passengers.

About Deutsche Bahn’s ICE 4

Siemens is the main contractual partner for Deutsche Bahn’s ICE 4 trains. The company signed the contract with Deutsche Bahn in 2011. This framework agreement covered 300 ICE 4 trains. Bombardier was involved in the bid and contract right from the start as a consortium partner. Deutsche Bahn rejected a rival bid from Alstom for 5–8 billion euros for the 300 ICE 4 trains (depending on configurations). As the consortium partner Bombardier holds a 30 percent share of the contract.

Related Post:  Bombardier Presents Light Rail Vehicle Safety System

In 2013 Deutsche Bahn ordered additional cars to run the ICE 4 in a 12-car configuration, instead of a 10-car configuration as originally planned.

Interestingly, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported at the time that Deutsche Bahn wanted to protect itself against quality failures. For example, DB said it would only fully pay for a train once they were 100 percent working. Instead of dynamic testing taking place with passengers, DB said that each ICE 4 train would have to run tests for two months first.

Siemens was also made specifically responsible for the quality of the wheelset axles. If one of them were to become defective before the train has done four million kilometres, Siemens must replace it for free.

Related Post:  Newag Impuls Electric Trains to Undergo Maintenance

Following a successful two-month test period without passengers – bar defective bins – vibrations became a problem in January 2017, after 140,000km. Siemens says problems with the contact between the wheel and the rail were the cause, following altered rail profiles.

The first ICE 4 entered service in December 2017.

In September 2018 then, Deutsche Bahn issued a further order for 18 seven-car ICE 4 trains and 50 EMU cars. Deutsche Bahn wants to use these 50 cars to lengthen its existing ICE 4 trains. These Bombardier’s share of this contract is roughly a third and worth 198 million euros (223 million USD).

Within the consortium, Bombardier is responsible for the car bodies, the bogies and around 30 percent of the final assembly.

Read more about the ICE 4 trains:

Suppliers in this story

News categories

    24 Jun 2019
    Last of 30 B-Series Trains for Transperth Delivered
    24 Jun 2019
    Industry Insider Week 25 – 9 Must-Read Rail Stories
    20 Jun 2019
    Bombardier’s ZEFIRO Wins German Design Award
    18 Jun 2019
    Brussels: STIB Buys Additional 30 FLEXITY Trams
    17 Jun 2019
    Bombardier to Open Rail Car Assembly Site in California
    17 Jun 2019
    Industry Insider Week 24 – 7 Must-Read Rail Stories
    12 Jun 2019
    Bombardier Launches Updated MITRAC Solutions
    10 Jun 2019
    Industry Insider Week 23 – 13 Must-Read Rail Stories
    Subscribe to Railway-News
    Get the latest contract alerts and Railway News emailed directly to your inbox.

    We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously.

    Please tick to confirm you would like to receive emails we think may be of interest to you. We sometimes tailor the content you see to what we think you'll find interesting, and so monitor your interaction with our website and email content (find out more).