ALSTOM and Siemens Transportation Systems, the two largest high-speed rail systems builders in Europe and two of the largest in the world, have officially informed Deutsche Bahn AG (DB) and French National Railways (SNCF) that they will work together to build a high-speed trainset that will be compatible with all major networks throughout western Europe. The announcement brings the European Union a step closer to building a trans-border continental railway network.
The announcement is also an affirmative response to the joint DB-SNCF announcement made earlier this spring–with the backing of their respective governments–to order such a high-speed trainset. Hartmut Mehdorn and Louis Gallois, the respective heads of DB and SNCF, had said they will place a joint order for the next high-speed train generation at the earliest feasible date.
In a joint letter to DB and SNCF, ALSTOM and SIEMENS said they would form a 50/50 partnership to specify, develop and manufacture a train in close cooperation with both railway administrations. ALSTOM and Siemens also proposed that an industry working group be created, composed of representatives of DB, SNCF, ALSTOM and Siemens, to define the technical conditions of the new train (e.g., capacity, operating speed, acceleration capability), commercial conditions (e.g., lifecycle costs, investment price per passenger) and financial plans.
ALSTOM and Siemens added that their consortium might work together on this project with other European companies after the first phase of definition has been reached. The two companies have already worked together on several projects, particularly for a high-speed train in Asia. South Korea has already placed an order with ALSTOM for a high-speed trainset, but was unsuccessful with Siemens in a tender for a high-speed line in Taiwan.
The project is subject to European Commission approval, which is expected.