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DSB's Italian train debacle deepens

10.06.2012 - 23:15

The long-delayed high-speed IC4 trains purchased by train operator DSB will end up costing one billion Danish crowns more than the original price tag, Copenhagen Post reported.

The trains have been an ongoing headache for DSB, which purchased the 83 train sets from Italian company Ansaldobreda in 2000 for 5.3 billion crowns with the intention of putting them into service in 2003.

But long delays in delivery from the Italian company, along with recent concerns over faulty brakes, mean that not one is yet in service. According to Ingenioren, the total cost of the IC4 trains is expected to reach about 6.4 billion kroner, despite promises made by DSB's former CEO, Soren Eriksen, that the trains would be inexpensive. “We are going to get a very, very cheap regional train compared to the alternative,” he said at a 2009 press conference. In late 2011, state-owned DSB told parliament that it had so far spent four billion crowns on the trains. Ingeniøren’s total, however, factors in additional payments to Ansaldobreda and VAT charges that will be owed once the trains become operational. There are also further costs resulting from DSB's limited capacity due to the non delivery of the IC4 trains. DSB had to rent 112 double-decker carriages and maintain the ageing locomotives that pull them. DSB has not released the cost of the rental, but Ingenioren estimates it to be about 1.5 billion crowns. None of these costs were included by the consulting engineering firm Atkins when it last year concluded that the IC4 “was a good train for the price”. DSB was granted 2.25 billion crowns of compensation in 2009 from Ansaldobreda, of which 1.5 billion has already been paid.  IC4 trains have run in Denmark for limited periods only to be withdrawn after errors were detected.

In 2008, four trains were taken out of service in Jutland after problems with their exhaust fumes, and in 2011 the trains were once again grounded after a brakes failure almost led to an accident.

The IC4 train was custom designed for Denmark and is thought to be the reason for the lengthy delays.