GERMANY: Electric operation of Rhein-IJssel-Express service RE19 on the 20·3 km Bocholter Bahn in Nordrhein-Westfalen began on February 1, following a seven month programme to modernise and electrify the branch from Wesel to Bocholt.

The trains are operated by VIAS Rail, with Bocholt services now running to and from Düsseldorf, joining and splitting from Arnhem – Düsseldorf trains at Wesel.  

The 15 kV 16·7 Hz electrification project undertaken by DB Netz included upgrading 19 level crossings and the replacement of 1·5 km of track, enabling speeds between Wesel and Hamminkeln to be raised to 100 km/h, as well as the modrnisation of Dingden, Blumenkamp, Hamminkeln and Bocholt stations.

Completion had been planned for the December 2021 timetable change, but construction was delayed.

The €50m project was funded by the Westfalen-Lippe and Rhein-Ruhr transport authorities. Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr board member Ronald Lünser said VRR’s goal is to have 90% of the routes in its area electrified by 2030.