In 2015, National Express (UK) was the proclaimed winner of the concession for the S-Bahn Nürnberg, starting in December 2018. That was quite a blow to Deutsche Bahn (DB), that for the first time was about to loose an S-Bahn network in its home country.
National Express then signed a letter of intent with Škoda for supplying new type 7Ev EMUs (a.k.a. ‘RegioPanter’, see artist impression above). The new operator needed 38 5-car trainsets, a huge order-to-be for Škoda Transportation, and a first international success with the 7Ev.
But the runner-up in the first round, DB Regio, filed a complaint and demanded a fill re-assessment by the concessionare, the Bayerische Eisenbahngesellschaft (BEG), of the bids of the different candidates. This was done (using updated assessment guidelines) but again National Express proved the be best bidder. DB Regio objected again, so no final contract could be signed.
Then, in October 2016, National Express decided to withdraw its offer. The financial risks were getting to big, the time until December 2018 too short, to further await the outcome of the legal process. Consequently, the Škoda-order was not awarded.
The BEG had to re-assess all other remaining bids and now selected DB Regio’s offer. This was officially announced in December 2016. The operator has now less than two years to prepare and to find rolling stock that will meet the demands. Ordering, building, delivering new trains would take too much time.