Stadler Rail will provide the Bayerische Oberlandbahn (BOB), operator of the Meridian services in southern Germany, with two new Flirt3 trainsets. One will be 3-car, the other one 6-car, exactly like to two Meridian trains that got destroyed in the Bad Aibling train disaster in 2016.
On 16.02.2016, the six-car ET 325 (eastbound) collided head on with westbound 3-car ET 355. 12 people died, 85 others were injured including 24 seriously. Later it became clear that this accident was caused by human error. Since then BOB is, logically, facing a shortage of rolling stock. This problem is currently being solved by hiring trains from other operators: image 1, image 2, image 3.
The long-term solution however comes from Stadler Rail, the manufacturer of the Meridian trains. It will built two replacement trains in Berlin-Pankow. The new sets will be compatible and connectable with the current fleet. Running in multiple will not be a problem. Stadler Rail is making an exception for BOB, so it is stated, by delivering trains of a type that is no longer in production. Receiving identical trains means they can be used under the same approval permit as the existing trains, so BOB will be able to use them on international services to Salzburg and Kufstein in Austria.
But Stadler’s ‘geste’ does not come cheap, the two new EMUs will cost millions of euros, a double-digit amount that is.