No tender and undisclosed value. Moravian-Silesian Region in a hurry to buy battery-powered trains
České dráhy wants to purchase battery units from Škoda without a tender.
The Moravian-Silesian Region and České dráhy are currently finalizing negotiations on a new ten-year contract for the operation of most trains, which will also include the first-time use of dual electric power units (BEMU, battery-powered trains). České dráhy did not issue a tender for the purchase of BEMUs, and the region is negotiating the EUR 720 million contract directly with the operator.
Earlier this year, the region announced that it would negotiate a new ten-year contract with ČD without a tender. As a condition, it stipulated the use of four BEMU units on the new Ostrava – Veřovice line from 2024. However, České dráhy has not yet issued a tender for a supplier of these units. The operator had the idea that their supply might be possible on the basis of a Škoda Group framework contract for electric units.
The editors of CEETransport.com are aware of two major rolling stock manufacturers who are planning to file a complaint with the antimonopoly office against the possibility of concluding a BEMU contract with Škoda without competition. In their opinion, this is a fundamental change in the subject of the tender.
Last year, ČD announced a tender for the supply of fifteen BEMUs, but the winner of this tender will not be able to deliver the first four units by the beginning of the 2024/2025 timetable as set by the region. CEETransport.com are aware that the direct award to Škoda failed several times in meetings of the ČD’ Supervisory Board, but was finally approved by a narrow majority last September.
The Moravian-Silesian region in particular is pushing for the purchase. It is unclear why the region insists on four battery units. In her answers to CEETransport’s questions, spokeswoman Nikola Birklenová said that trains equipped with ETCS are necessary for operation on the corridors from the 2024/2025 timetable.
That, however, does not explain why it is necessary to purchase four battery-powered trains. ČD can use RegioPanter units, which are ETCS-equipped and have been duly tendered. The battery-powered units are supposed to be used on the non-electrified line to Veřovice, where ETCS will not be mandatory until several years after 2025, according to Správa železnic.
The region does not want to disclose the price for the BEMUs operation in the region; only the price for the whole network, 217 CZK per kilometer, was given. This is the last year that the region can legally contract an operator for ten years without a tender. Starting next year, the service will have to be put out to tender.
Edited and translated by Lucie Trávníčková