DaimlerChrysler Rail Systems
FormerlyABB Daimler Benz Transportation
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryRail transportation
Founded1 January 1996; 28 years ago (1996-01-01) (through merger)
Defunct1 May 2001 (2001-05-01)
FateAcquired by Bombardier
SuccessorBombardier Transportation
Key people
Rolf Eckrodt (President, Chairman)[2]
ProductsRail vehicles, railway electrification and signalling
RevenueDM5.7 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]
OwnerABB and Daimler-Benz (1996–1999)
Daimler Chrysler (1999–2001)
Number of employees
22,715 (1997)[4]

Adtranz was a multi-national rail transportation equipment manufacturer with facilities concentrated in Europe and the US. The company, legally known as ABB Daimler-Benz Transportation, was created in 1996 as a joint venture between ABB and Daimler-Benz to combine their rail equipment manufacturing operations. In 1999, DaimlerChrysler (successor to Daimler-Benz) bought ABB's shares and changed the company's official name to DaimlerChrysler Rail Systems. The company was acquired by Bombardier in 2001, which merged it into its Bombardier Transportation division, which became the largest rail equipment manufacturer in the world at the time, and was ultimately acquired by Alstom in 2021.

Adtranz manufactured 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 approved by government regulators on 18 October 1995, on the condition that both companies divest themselves of any shares in Kiepe, a traction components company.[note 1][11] The merger came into force on 1 January 1996.[12][13][14]

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 to 1997.[4] However the company continued to lose money, $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]

New South Wales Endeavour railcar manufactured by Adtranz

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".[15][16] Adtranz intended to consolidate its product range around these families once on-going deliveries are finished.[17]

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 and Machine Works.[5]

ABB sold its 50% stake in Adtranz to DaimlerChrysler in January 1999 for $472 million,[18] taking up a previous agreement made on the formation of the joint venture whereby DaimlerChrysler was required to purchase ABB's stake.[19][20]

Adtranz finally achieved profitability in 2000, as DaimlerChrysler prepared to sell off Adtranz.[7] The Greenbrier Companies acquired the freight wagon manufacturing business in January 2000.[21][22] The overhead electrification systems installations business was sold to Balfour Beatty in late 2000 for €153 million.[23] No buyer was found for the railway signalling division.[2]

The remaining assets of Adtranz were sold to Bombardier, in a $711 million deal announced in August 2000, a price considered to be low by industry analysts.[note 4][24][25] The sale was cleared by the European Union in April 2001 on the condition that Bombardier would license or sell the Adtranz regional train and tram products to Stadler Rail in the German market, due to the large market share of Bombardier and Adtranz in the country. The deal would make Stadler a viable independent company providing competition to Bombardier.[26] The takeover came into legal effect on 1 May 2001 with a final price of $725 million and ADtranz was folded into the Bombardier Transportation division.[27][28]

Within months of the sale, Bombardier said that it was misled about the financial situation of Adtranz. Bombardier sued DaimlerChrysler for providing misleading financial information. The companies settled in September 2004 with DaimlerChrysler agreeing to refund $209 million, making the final sale price for Adtranz just $516 million.[29][30][31]


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.[32][33] 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.[33] It was capitalised by the companies with a capital D as ADtranz, following the standard English text formatting and capitalisation rules it is spelled with a small d as Adtranz. Above the text ADtranz, the company logo included a green dot, symbolising a signal set on green, as well as the environmental friendliness of railways.[33] The company also registered the slogan ADtranz – we speak railways.[34] Rights on the brand and slogan were deleted in 2008 and 2007 respectively.[32][34]


Adtranz DE2000 locomotive for Hellenic Railways Organization
Subway rail vehicles
High speed trains
Passenger trains
Light rail passenger vehicles
A former Kuala Lumpur Metro rolling stock of Adtranz-Walkers EMU
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.[24]


  1. ^ DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1996, p.84
  2. ^ a b c d "Rolf Eckrodt". referenceforbusiness.com.
  3. ^ DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1996, p. 29
  4. ^ a b c d e DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1997, pp. 39–40
  5. ^ a b DaimlerChrysler Annual Report 1998, p.47
  6. ^ DaimlerChrysler Annual Report 1999, p. 49
  7. ^ a b DaimlerChrysler Annual Report, p.42
  8. ^ Commission Decision of 18 October 1995. Case No. IV/M.580 – ABB/Daimler-Benz, pp. 1, 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. ^ a b 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. ^ Green light for ABB/AEG merger Modern Railways issue 567 December 1995 page 767
  14. ^ Adtranz: A new worldwide contender for railway traction and rolling stock The Railway Magazine issue 1119 April 1996 page 10
  15. ^ "Adranz Railway Conference = '98' In Oslo – Universal Rail Innovation". www.prnewswire.co.uk (Press release). Adtranz, via PR Newswire. 16 March 1998.
  16. ^ "Adtranz: restructuring based on seven product lines". Railway Age. 199 (4): 38. April 1998. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
  17. ^ "Adtranz unveils modular range". Railway Gazette International. April 1998.
  18. ^ "DaimlerChrysler buys ABB's share in Adtranz". www.abb.co.uk (Press release). ABB.
  19. ^ "DaimlerChrysler AG, Annual Report to Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, D.C." (PDF). www.daimler.com. 31 December 1998. pp. 5, 28, F-15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2011.
  20. ^ DaimlerBenz Annual Report 1996, p.60
  21. ^ Greenbrier to Acquire Adtranz Freight Wagon Division in Siegen, Germany, PR Newswire, 11 January 2000
  22. ^ Greenbrier Completes Acquisition of Freight Wagon Division, PR Newswire, 24 January 2000
  23. ^ "Balfour Beatty Buys Adtranz Division". International Railway Journal. November 2000. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Bombardier gets Adtranz for a "bargain"". Railway Age. September 2000. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015.
  25. ^ "Bombardier agrees to buy Adtranz" Railway Gazette International September 2000 page 601
  26. ^ "Commission clears takeover of ADtranz by Bombardier, subject to commitments". europa.eu (Press release). Europa (web portal). 3 April 2001.
  27. ^ "Bombardier's Acquisition of Adtranz Now Completed". www.allbusiness.com. Business Wire. 30 April 2001.
  28. ^ "DaimlerChrysler sells train division". cdnedge.bbc.co.uk. BBC News. 4 August 2000.
  29. ^ "Bombardier to sue DaimlerChrysler". International Railway Journal. March 2002. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015.
  30. ^ "Industry giants in legal battle". news.bbc.co.uk. BBC News. 14 February 2002.
  31. ^ "Bombardier Reaches a Settlement Agreement With DaimlerChrysler". www.allbusiness.com. Business Wire. 28 September 2004.
  32. ^ a b "Register number: 39745229". register.dmpa.de. Deutsches Patent- und Musteramt (DPMA).
  33. ^ a b c "ADtranz — Neue Corporate Identity und Namensentwicklung für ein führendes Bahntechnik-Unternehmen" (PDF). www.landor.com (in German). Landor. April 1996. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 July 2011.
  34. ^ a b "Register number: 39649590". register.dmpa.de. Deutsches Patent- und Musteramt (DPMA).


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