Bombardier has announced the signing of a framework agreement worth up to €1.5bn with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB) for 800 double-deck coaches.

The new coaches will increase DB’s ability to actively compete for tenders in the local rail market in 2009.

The deal, according to DB CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, was also signed as a response to the current economic downturn and is meant to send a powerful economic message.

“In these difficult economic times, we have decided to invest in the future,” he said. “Economical and powerful transportation demands a modern fleet and this decision will enable us to make outstanding transport bids in the regional transportation market and offer convincing quality.”

Chairman of the management board of DB Regio, Ulrich Homburg, explained that the new fleet would give DB a technological edge in the market.

“For the first time ever, we will have powered double-deck coaches in our fleet,” he said. “Individual coaches, driving trailers or trailer coaches can be added as well, depending on what the trains are being used. In addition, the vehicles are compatible with other generations and will thus create cost benefits in operation.”

“The added quality and comfort for customers will furthermore improve our position in future local transportation tenders and help to safeguard jobs in the DB Group.”

The deal is Bombardier’s largest since 2006 and is the latest in a recent string of large rolling stock contracts.

These include a €46m deal to provide 34 coaches to Germany’s Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen GmbH, a €128m contract to supply 76 double-deck cars to Belgian National Railways and a €160m deal for 80 diesel electric locomotives to the French Railway, Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français.

By Daniel Garrun.