Stadler Rail

Stadler Rail is a Swiss manufacturer of railway rolling stock, with an emphasis on regional train multiple units and trams. It is also focused on niche products, such as being one of the last European manufacturers of rack railway rolling stock. Stadler Rail is headquartered in Bussnang, Switzerland.

Stadler Rail AG
TypePublic company
IndustryTrain manufacturing
FounderErnst Stadler[1]
Key people
Peter Spuhler (president and acting CEO)
Revenue3.6 billion[2] Swiss franc (2021)
Owner RAG-Stiftung (4.5%)
Number of employees
13,067[2] (2021)

The holding company consists of nine subsidiaries with locations in Algeria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belarus and the United States, and upcoming joint ventures with INKA in Indonesia and with Medha Servo Drives in India. Stadler Rail employed approximately 6,100 employees by 2012, including 2,750 in Switzerland, 1,200 in Germany, 1,000 in Belarus, 400 in Hungary and 400 in Poland.[3] By 2017, this had increased to 7,000 employees.[4]


Stadler Rail traces its origins back to an engineering office established by Ernst Stadler during 1942.[5] Three years later, the company begun to manufacture its first locomotives, building both battery-electric and diesel types. Throughout the majority of Stadler Rail's existence, it operated as a relatively small family-owned business entirely based in Switzerland that traditionally focused on manufacturing high customised rail vehicles for its clients.[5] The customer base were typically within relatively niche markets, such as narrow gauge and mountain railway operators, rather than those operating conventional mainline railways. Stadler Rail remained a relatively small rolling stock manufacturer even through to the 1990s; by the mid-1990s, Stadler reportedly had only 100 employees.[5]

During 1984, Stadler Rail decided to embark on the manufacture of passenger rolling stock for the first time.[5] During the mid-to-late 1990s, the business continued to expand via the launch of new products, as well as the acquisition of two other Swiss factories that built specialist rail vehicles for rack-and-pinion and narrow gauge railways. Stadler Rail experienced a considerable uptick in business during the latter years of 1990s.[5] Its customer base continued to expand year after year over the following two decades to become one of the fastest growing and most innovative train manufacturing companies operating in Europe. Stadler Rail has become a serious competitor in several categories to traditional major rolling stock companies, such as Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens, and has successfully secured several major orders from the incumbent train operating companies of several nations.[5]

In 1999, Stadler Rail took a 67% shareholding in a joint venture with Adtranz to manufacture the Regio-Shuttle RS1.[5][6] However, following Adtranz's acquisition by Bombardier during 2000, European Union regulators insisted that on the divestiture of the regional and tram product lines. As a consequence, Stadler Rail took 100% ownership of the Pankow factory in Berlin, becoming its first manufacturing base in Germany, in 2001. Production of the RS1 has continued, becoming the market leading tram in the nation.[5]

Perhaps the company's most successful product has been the FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) family, the range includes highly diverse configurations to suit different needs, from smaller regional units to luxurious intercity trainsets, as well as broad gauge versions for Finland and former Soviet Union nations.[5] During 2004, Stadler Rail delivered the first trainset to the Swiss Federal Railways. By 2019, in excess of 1,400 FLIRTs have been ordered by operators in 16 countries spread across Europe, the United States, Algeria and Azerbaijan.[5]

To facilitate an expanded order book and wider customer base, the company has rapidly expanded its production capabilities. To serve the Eastern European market alone, during 2005, a new assembly plant was built in Hungary, while another was completed in Poland in the following year; six years later, a third manufacturing site was established in Belarus.[5] By late 2019, the firm reportedly employed in excess of 7,000 employees at various locations spread across 20 countries. Each year, hundreds of rail vehicles, including trams, locomotives and coaches, are completed by the firm.[5] In addition to its manufacturing efforts, considerable business is derived from contracted maintenance and refurbishment programmes, which Stadler Rail provides to operators throughout Europe, the United States, the Middle East and the North African regions.[5]

The company has also grown via numerous acquisitions, including the Swiss company Winpro AG based in Winterthur during 2005, Voith Rail Services of the Netherlands in 2013, and Vossloh Rail Vehicles of Valencia during 2015. They have been integrated into the wider Stadler Rail organisation, broadening the range of products and services on offer.[5]

For many years, Peter Spuhler has served as the company's chief executive officer (CEO), as well as holding a major stake in the business.[5] According to Peter Jenelten, Stadler Rail's Executive Vice-President for Marketing and Sales, has credited the business' relatively lean structure as having enabled very rapid decision-making and reducing product's time to market, which in turn has been an important selling point for its customers. Railway industry periodical Rail Magazine has claimed that Stadler Rail has been a major beneficiary of customer dissatisfaction with the dominant market competitors, particularly in terms of delivery and certification issues.[5]

During 2014, Stadler Rail announced the formation of a joint venture with Azerbaijan-based company International Railway Distribution LLC to manufacture rolling stock in the nation. One month prior, Stadler had received a SFr120 million contract to produce 30 sleeper and dining cars.[7] Rolling stock originally intended for Russia has also been resold to Azerbaijan and neighbouring Georgia.[5]

Stadler Rail had traditionally avoided major involvement with the British railway customer base, which it has claimed was due to the unfavourable complexity of the regulatory environment.[5] However, in 2017, management decided to embark on a decisive push into Britain, both to acquire market share amongst its rail operators and to establish new manufacturing and servicing facilities. It quickly secured a £610 million order from Abellio Greater Anglia for its FLIRT family, leading to 378 vehicles conforming to the UK's restrictive loading gauge that were built in Bussnang.[5] Further orders in the UK market have included Glasgow Subway's order for 17 underground trains, operating via an automated driverless system, it is a first for Stadler. Another major order came from Merseytravel for bespoke electric trains.[5]

During April 2019, Stadler Rail was listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange, reducing Spuhler's stake in the company to 40%.[8] Prior to the listing, Spuhler had owned 80% of the business's share capital, while RAG Stiftung held a further 10% key employees, and the remaining 10% was divided amongst several senior employees at the firm.[9]

In recent years, the light rail and metro sectors have become increasingly important customers.[5] Various operators in Germany, Norway, and Britain have adopted the company's Variobahn trams, while Stadler Rail received its first contract for underground trains during 2015. In December 2015, the firm’s had a huge order via a joint venture with Siemens Mobility for up to 1,380 vehicles for Berlin's S-Bahn, the last of which are to be delivered by 2023. During 2019, Stadler Rail was reportedly making efforts to capitalise on smaller operators, driven by trends towards regionalisation and open-access operation, to secure business for its railcars, light rail vehicles and multiple units.[5]

Stadler has been criticised for its business activities in Belarus, where it has a large manufacturing facility in Fanipaĺ. During the disputed 2020 Belarusian presidential elections with subsequent protests, and amid the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the company came under pressure to reduce its exposure in those countries. By June 2022, electronic parts used to assemble rail equipment are no longer deliverable to Fanipaĺ due to international sanctions against Belarus in the aftermath of the forced diversion of Ryanair Flight 4978. As that work could not be accomplished at Fanipaĺ, equipment and personnel was moved to Poland, Switzerland and the US to make up for that loss. The board of directors decided to keep the site, and stressed the company has to follow supranational decisions by international organisations such as the OECD, UN and EU, but their commitment is towards the people working at the site, and that Stadler "serves the public not dictators".[10][11]


New train at Stadler Bussnang factory
Stadler Polska in Siedlce
  • Bussnang (CH); site of original factory 1962
Stadler Bussnang AG
Stadler Altenrhein AG
Stadler Pankow GmbH
Stadler Stahlguss AG
Stadler Polska Sp.z o.o.
Stadler Weiden GmbH
Stadler Winterthur AG
Stadler Szolnok Kft.
ZAT Stadler Minsk
Stadler US Inc.
Stadler Rail Valencia SAU
PT Stadler INKA Indonesia
  • Hyderabad (Telangana (IN)); joint venture with Medha Servo Drives, under construction[13]


Tango tram in Zürich, used for testing and publicity. This tram now serves on Basel's lines 10 and 11.
Stadler M110/M111 in Minsk Metro

Stadler markets a range of standard modular vehicles, including:

Since purchasing Vossloh España in 2016, Stadler Rail have additionally manufactured the following former Vossloh designs:

Stadler has also built a number of custom vehicles for specific customers, in some cases including elements of their standard designs. These include:


  1. ^ "About us - Stadler".
  2. ^ a b "2021 Annual Report" (PDF). Stadler. Retrieved 14 March 2022.
  3. ^ "History". Stadler Rail. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  4. ^ "2017 Facts & Figures english edition" (PDF). Stadler. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "FROM THE ARCHIVES: Stadler - delivering with Swiss precision". 4 September 2019.
  6. ^ New Joint Venture Today's Railways Europe issue 48 December 1999 page 17
  7. ^ "Stadler forms joint venture in Azerbaijan". Railway Gazette International. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Stadler Rail lists on SIX Swiss Exchange". Railway Gazette International. 12 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Stadler announces IPO details and plans April 12 listing". Railway Gazette International. 29 March 2019.
  10. ^ Feldges, Dominik (15 March 2022). "Stadler Rail sichert sich einen Grossauftrag nach dem anderen und kann es den Investoren trotzdem nicht recht machen" (in German). Bussnang: NZZ. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Full Year 2021 Results-Stadler Rail" (PDF). Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Perusahaan Patungan INKA dan STADLER, Akhirnya Dibentuk". Industri Kereta Api. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  13. ^ "Stadler and Medha Servo to build rail coach manufacturing unit in India". 26 May 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Stadler relies on tailor-made trains". Railway Gazette. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Stadler to deliver hydrogen-powered train to SBCTA". Railway Age. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  16. ^ First electro-diesel Flirts ordered
  17. ^ "One Kiss good, two Kisses better". Railway Gazette. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  18. ^ "Stadler launches Wink multiple-unit offering a range of traction options". Railway Gazette. 22 November 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  19. ^ "First Tango in Basel". Railway Gazette. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  20. ^ "First Variobahn tram arrives in Bergen". Railway Gazette. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Produktdetail - Stadler".
  22. ^ "Glasgow Subway trains first in UK to run with no staff on board". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  23. ^ "New Subway trains unveiled - SPT". SPT. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Subway Revival – Glasgow to introduce UTO". Rail Engineer. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  25. ^ "New trains unveiled for Glasgow Subway". BBC News. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  26. ^ Barrow, Keith (16 December 2016). "Stadler to supply new Merseyrail trains". International Railway Journal. International Railway Journal. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  28. ^ Ltd, DVV Media International. "Stadler to supply up to 354 metro cars to Atlanta". Metro Report. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  29. ^ Tyne and Wear, Nexus. "Nexus unveils £362m new Tyne and Wear Metro trains". Nexus. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  30. ^ Stadler capricorn
  31. ^ "Low-floor Multiple-unit Be 4/6 for the Forchbahn, Switzerland" (PDF). Stadler Rail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  32. ^ Two-part rack-and-pinion multiple unit (PDF). Stadler. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2021.
  33. ^ 2010-03-01T09:11:00. "Rack superpower for Brazilian freight line". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  34. ^ Electric rack and adhesion locomotive He 4/4 (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 February 2021.
  35. ^ Johnston, Bob (July 2016). "Rocky Mountaineer turns over new GoldLeafs". Trains. 76 (7): 21.
  36. ^ "Stadler Metelica trams selected for Ostrava". Metro Report International. 22 November 2016.
  37. ^ "Stadler and KiwiRail sign a contract for 57 mainline locomotives" (PDF). Stadler Rail. 11 October 2021. Retrieved 12 October 2021.

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