Public transport company Go-Ahead Group has agreed to sell its rail business in Germany to ÖBB, allowing the Austrian rail company to enter the regional rail passenger business in the country.

Expected to close by the end of the year, the deal will see Go-Ahead Verkehrsgesellschaft Deutschland [Go-Ahead Germany] continue operating as an independent company for its three rail contracts in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.

ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä said: “With the purchase of Go-Ahead Germany, ÖBB is consistently continuing its internationalisation course.

“ÖBB is already internationally active – as the leading provider of night trains in Europe and as the second strongest freight railway in the EU, operating in 18 countries. We see good potential in southern Germany to grow even more strongly in passenger transport.”

Founded in 2014, Go-Ahead Germany operates 144 EMU trains across its services on the Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg network, the Allgäu electronic network between Munich and Lindau and the Augsburg to Munich, Würzburg, Aalen and Ulm in Bavaria.

Go-Ahead Group group chief executive Christian Schreyer said he was proud of the services that the group had brought to its German customers in recent years, including the introduction of the new fleet of trains and the establishment of one of the biggest driver training schools in Germany: “I am pleased that we are now able to sell the business in good shape to a well-respected rail operator with ambitious plans for the German network.

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“Go-Ahead remains fully committed to rail in the UK and to expansion in metropolitan rail elsewhere in the world. I would like to thank all our colleagues in Germany and to offer them our very best wishes for the future.”

ÖBB’s investment into the German passenger rail market follows its partnership with Deutsche Bahn on cross-border services between Germany and Austria, which recently expanded its InterCity Express timetable and night services.