California chooses German state company to operate high-speed rail system

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has chosen the US arm of Deutsche Bahn, DB Engineering, to operate train services when the first phase of the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco line is complete.

DB Engineering beat three other consortiums made up of companies from Spain, Italy, UK and China.

The consortiums responded to the authority’s request in June for proposals for an "early train operator service". Each team was scored on its proposal and its performance in interviews.

DB Engineering & Consulting came first, followed by Renfe Operadora, Spain’s state-owned operator and FS First Rail Group, a consortium of Italian state operator Ferrovie with UK’s private sector First Group and management consultant McKinsey.

Fourth place was taken by a team made up of Chinese state companies, including the China Railway Corporation and the Beijing Railway Administration. Stagecoach, the private sector UK operator dropped out of the tender.

Deutsche Bahn said in its submission to the CHSRA that it ran a network of "more than 20,500 miles and about 30,000 trains per day" and offered "the competence of the largest passenger and freight rail transport in Europe".

It added that its approach would be to split the civil works, structures, and rail infrastructure into separate packages and use competitive tendering and "excellent project management" to reduce costs and keep the project on schedule.

It said: "Rather than the client having to choose the best global offer, it is able to pick and choose the best combination of offers. This does not only reduce project costs, it also leads to increased competition by offering more suitable offers in certain disciplines."

DB Engineering will now be recommended to the Authority Board of Directors at their meeting on 19 October.

Image: Kalifornia here we come: A rendering of a high speed train arriving at the San Francisco Transbay terminal (CHSRA)

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  1. Having traveled extensively through all of Germany I have never encountered a problem. Connections have been seamless. In particular the trip printouts supplied by the station trip planners specify all the travel information that one needs making travel a joy.

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