Abellio train.

GERMANY: Rhine-Ruhr transport authority VRR has selected Abellio Rail NRW to operate Niederrhein-Netz services for 12 years from December 2016.

The operating contract announced on March 22 covers routes RB33 Mönchengladbach - Krefeld - Wesel and RB35 Dusseldorf - Emmerich. RB35 is to be extended to Arnhem in 2017, with the Dutch province of Gelderland and region of Arnhem-Nijmegen contributing to the costs of the improved cross-border service.

The operator will be responsible for procuring suitable multi-voltage vehicles, which will be sold to VRR and then leased back.

The operating contract will include provision for services to be extended from Wesel to Bocholt if this route is electrified. Feasibility studies have put the cost of wiring the line for 80 km/h operation at €12m, or €15m if suitable for 100 km/h.