ABB Daimler Benz Transportation
DaimlerChrysler Rail Systems
joint venture
Industry Rail transportation
Successor Bombardier Transportation
Founded 1996 (through merger)
Headquarters Berlin, Germany[1]
Key people
Rolf Eckrodt (President 1992-6, Chairman 1996-8)[2]
Products Rail vehicles, railway electrification and signalling
Revenue DM5.7 billion (1996)[3]
DM6.4 billion (1997)[4]
€3.3 billion (DM6.5 billion) (1998)[5]
€3.6 billion (1999)[6]
€3.9 billion (2000)[7]
Owner ABB, Daimler-Benz
Daimler Chrysler (after 1999)
Number of employees
22,715 (1997)[4]
A refurbished New South Wales Endeavour railcar manufactured by Adtranz

ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation (after 1999 DaimlerChrysler Rail Systems), commonly known under its brand Adtranz, was a multi-national rail transport equipment manufacturer with facilities concentrated in Europe and the US.

The company was created in 1996 in the merger of Daimler-Benz's and ABB's rail equipment manufacturing facilities. In 1999, DaimlerChrysler (now Daimler AG) bought ABB's shares and changed its official name to DaimlerChrysler Rail Systems. Bombardier Transportation acquired the company in 2001, at which time Adtranz was the world's second largest manufacturer of such equipment. The acquisition significantly increased the size of Bombardier's rail industry holdings making Bombardier the largest rail equipment manufacturer in the world.

Adtranz manufactured mainline locomotives, high-speed, regional, metro and underground passenger trains, trams and people movers as well as freight wagons. Non rolling stock businesses included railway electrification and signalling infrastructure.


On 8 May 1995 ABB and Daimler-Benz proposed a merger of their rail industry related activities into a single autonomous 50:50 joint venture; the combined group would be the largest rail-technology company in the world.[8] In Germany the combined company, along with Siemens would have a duopoly or near-duopoly in the market areas of electric locomotives, mainline and regional electric and diesel multiple units, trams and metros, and catenary systems.[9] In the EU, outside Germany, the merger would have meant no significant market share increase, including Scandinavia, where ABB had a dominant market share.[10] The proposed merger was suspended pending a report on any potential anti-competitive effects of the merger, on 18 October 1995 the merger was allowed, provided that both companies divest themselves of any shares in Kiepe (traction components company).[note 1][11] The merger came into force on 1 January 1996.[12]

The company's manufacturing facilities and product lines were rationalised, including a standard form of car body; after 18 months manufacturing costs had been reduced by 30%,[2] revenues and orders also rose from 1996-7.[4] However the company continued to be loss making, losing $111 million in 1997.[2] Polish manufacturer Pafawag was acquired in 1997 and the facility modernised,[4] controlling interests in MÁV Dunakeszi,[note 2] Hungary and Schindler Waggon Switzerland were also acquired by the end of 1997.[4]

In March 1998 Adtranz presented a set of new product brands for modular product platforms, with designs that can be adapted for the specific requirements of different customers: the Innovia guided transport vehicle, the Incentro low floor tram, the Itino diesel multiple unit, the Crusaris medium-high speed train (based on the GMB Class 71 flytoget trains), and the Octeon electric locomotive.[note 3] A new diesel locomotive design with engine and electrical traction system provided by General Electric was introduced, named "Blue Tiger".[13][14] Adtranz intended to consolidate its product range around these families once on-going deliveries are finished.[15]

Adtranz continued to make an operating loss in 1998, attributed to earlier contracts with underestimated costs, as well as technical problems with products. The same year brought an order for 400 locomotives for Deutsche Bahn, as well as the acquisition of Swiss locomotive manufacturer Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik AG (SLM).[5]

In January 1999 ABB sold its 50% stake in Adtranz to DaimlerChrysler for $472million,[16] taking up a previous agreement made on the formation of the joint venture whereby DaimlerChrysler was required to purchase ABB's stake.[17][18]

In 2000 Adtranz finally achieved profitability.[7] In preparation for a sale from DaimlerChrysler buyers for non-core rolling stock manufacturing businesses were sought.[7] In January 2000 The Greenbrier Companies acquired the freight wagon business based in Siegen.[19][20] The electrical installations business (overhead electrification systems) was sold to Balfour Beatty in late 2000 for €153million.[21] No buyer was found for the railway signalling division.[2]

In August 2000 Bombardier Inc. announced that it was to buy Adtranz for $711million,[note 4] considered to be a low price.[22] The sale was cleared by the European Union in April 2001; amongst the guarantees required to be made by Bombardier was that it would divest and license its product range in the regional and tram sectors to Stadler Rail due to the large German market share of the new group in those areas, making Stadler a viable independent company.[23] The takeover came into legal effect on 1 May 2001 with a final price of $725million.[24][25] In 2002 Bombardier announced that it was to sue DaimlerChrysler for $867 million due to alleged misleading financial information regarding Adtranz provided by DaimlerChrysler during the takeover,[26][27] in September 2004 the case was settled with the companies agreeing to a $209million reduction in price.[28]


Nameplate of a SEPTA car showing the Adtranz company logo in the center

The brand Adtranz was created by Landor Associates as part of the corporate identity of ABB Daimler Benz Transportation.[29][30] It is an acronym derived from selected letters of the complete name of the first company using it: ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation, with a z in place of an s at the end for the name to imply a complete product platform from A to Z.[30] It was capitalised by the companies with a capital D as ADtranz, following the standard English text formatting and capitalization rules it is spelled with a small d as Adtranz. Above the text ADtranz, the company logo included a green dot, symbolizing a signal set on green, as well as the environmental friendliness of railways.[30] In addition to the company also registered the slogan ADtranz - we speak railways.[31] Rights on the brand and slogan were deleted in 2008 and 2007 respectively.[29][31]


Adtranz DE2000 locomotive for Hellenic Railways Organization

A list of products:

Subway rail vehicles
High speed trains
Passenger trains
Light rail passenger vehicles
Automated People Movers

Facilities inherited on foundation


  1. And other conditions relating to the company's influence and decisions regarding the Kiepe company until such time as the company's shares were sold.[11]
  2. See also Bombardier MÁV Kft. (in Hungarian)
  3. Derived from the DBAG Class 145 locomotives. See also section: DBAG Class 145 family, Adtranz Octeon platform in TRAXX
  4. The price would be subject to the acquired company entering profitability in the following year - if not the sale price would be reduced.[22]


  1. DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1996, p.84
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Rolf Eckrodt".
  3. DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1996, p.29
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1997, pp.39-40
  5. 1 2 DaimlerChrysler Annual Report 1998, p.47
  6. DaimlerChrysler Annual Report 1999, p.49
  7. 1 2 3 DaimlerChrysler Annual Report, p.42
  8. Commission Decision of 18 October 1995 .. Case No. IV/M.580 - ABB/Daimler-Benz, p.1, p.12 (section 44)
  9. Commission Decision of 18 October 1995 .. Case No. IV/M.580 - ABB/Daimler-Benz, pp.13-16 (sections 50-64)
  10. Commission Decision of 18 October 1995 .. Case No. IV/M.580 - ABB/Daimler-Benz, p.12 (section 46), p.13 (section 49)
  11. 1 2 Commission Decision of 18 October 1995 .. Case No. IV/M.580 - ABB/Daimler-Benz, p.1 (sections 2-3), pp.38-39
  12. "Adtranz in brief". Archived from the original on 28 December 1996. The international railway group Adtranz is the world's most complete provider of railway systems. The group was legally formed on January 1, 1996 by merging the respective railway activities of Swiss-Swedish electrical engineering group ABB, Zurich, Switzerland, and Daimler-Benz AG, Stuttgart, Germany.
  13. "ADTRANZ RAILWAY CONFERENCE '98' IN OSLO - UNIVERSAL RAIL INNOVATION". (Press release). Adtranz, via PR Newswire. 16 March 1998.
  14. "Adtranz: restructuring based on seven product lines". Railway Age. April 1998. p. 38.
  15. "Adtranz unveils modular range". Railway Gazette International. April 1998.
  16. "DaimlerChrysler buys ABB's share in Adtranz". (Press release). ABB Group.
  17. "DaimlerChrysler AG, Annual Report to Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C." (PDF). 31 December 1998. pp. 5, 28, F–15.
  18. DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1996, p.60
  19. "Greenbrier to Acquire Adtranz Freight Wagon Division in Siegen, Germany". PR Newswire. 11 January 2000.
  21. "Balfour Beatty Buys Adtranz Division". International Railway Journal. November 2000.
  22. 1 2 "Bombardier gets Adtranz for a "bargain"". Railway Age. September 2000.
  23. "Commission clears takeover of ADtranz by Bombardier, subject to commitments.". (Press release). Europa (web portal). 3 April 2001.
  24. "Bombardier's Acquisition of Adtranz Now Completed". Business Wire. 30 April 2001.
  25. "DaimlerChrysler sells train division". BBC News. 4 August 2000.
  26. "Bombardier to sue DaimlerChrysler". International Railway Journal. March 2002.
  27. "Industry giants in legal battle". BBC News. 14 February 2002.
  28. "Bombardier Reaches a Settlement Agreement With DaimlerChrysler". Business Wire. 28 September 2004.
  29. 1 2 "Register number: 39745229". Deutsches Patent- und Musteramt (DPMA).
  30. 1 2 3 "ADtranz — Neue Corporate Identity und Namensentwicklung für ein führendes Bahntechnik-Unternehmen" (PDF). (in German). Landor. April 1996.
  31. 1 2 "Register number: 39649590". Deutsches Patent- und Musteramt (DPMA).


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