Friday, November 17, 2017

U.S. arm of German Rail lands CHSRA contract

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) Board of Directors on Nov. 16 awarded a performance-based contract of up to $30 million to DB (Deutsche Bahn AG) Engineering & Consulting USA for “Early Train Operator” services to assist with planning, designing and implementing the agency’s high-speed rail program.

DB Engineering & Consulting USA Inc. will act as Lead Operator, with its partner company, Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail, a joint stock corporation whose shares are held entirely by the Federal Republic of Germany) acting as a guarantor. DB Engineering & Consulting USA has engaged Alternate Concepts, Inc. and HDR, Inc. as sub-consultants. Deutsche Bahn AG has more than 750 affiliates, with its main companies offering global mobility and logistical services in more than 130 countries. Its subsidiaries provide services in passenger transport as well as freight transport and logistics, and operate an extensive rail infrastructure. Global legal practice Eversheds Sutherland advised DB Engineering & Consulting USA, Inc. on its successful bid. The firm has advised DB on several global rail projects and will continue to advise the consortium on the next phases of the CHSRA project.

CHSRA said it anticipates issuing a notice to proceed for this contract within a few weeks. CHSRA called the contract award “a major step forward for California’s high-speed rail program.”

“Bringing on an ETO during the current design and development phase of the program will allow us to infuse commercial thinking into the design of the system, including station layout, technical specifications, and strategies to improve asset performance and control costs,” said CHSRA Board Chair Dan Richard. “As far as we know, this approach of bringing a commercial operator into a design phase is unique for major infrastructure projects. Proposition 1A, the High-Speed Rail Bond Act, authorizes us not only to construct a high-speed rail system, but requires that the system be a commercially viable enterprise that does not require an operating subsidy. Many large infrastructure programs are designed and built without sufficient attention to operating needs or operations and maintenance costs. This step of engaging an early operator allows us to design a system for optimum commercial performance.”

CHSRA’s 2016 Business Plan called for the engagement of an Early Train Operator “to ensure that its perspective is considered in the planning and design of track, systems, high-speed trains (rolling stock) and stations. Engaging an operator in early decisions on safety, operations, equipment and systems, fare structures and schedules, as well as other commercial and operating elements will ensure that the system is designed to operate as a safe and successful enterprise.”

CHSRA pointed out that more than 119 miles of active construction in the Central Valley is under way, and that initial passenger service is planned for high-speed rail between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley.


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