Tuebingen (Photo: Th G/Pixabay)

GERMANY: The Land of Baden-Wurttenberg and local authority body Zweckverband ÖPNV im Ammertal have awarded sole bidder DB Regio the Netz 18 contract to operate service RB63 between Herrenberg, Tübingen, Metzingen and Bad Urach from December 2022.

The regional passenger service will use the 21 km Ammertalbahn between Herrenberg and Tübingen and the 10 km Ermstalbahn from Metzingen to Bad Urach, which are owned by the local authorities.

Both routes are to be electrified at 15 kV 16·7 Hz by March 2023. This will enable the RS1 DMUs which DB Regio currently uses to be replaced by refurbished Alstom Coradia Continental EMUs redeployed from Augsburg.

The Land will fund the level of service it considers necessary for its 2025 transport plan, with ZöA funding additional trains. This will provide a half-hourly service on weekdays and improved frequencies at weekends, taking services to 1·46 million train-km/year. Four stations are due to be opened at Tübingen Güterbahnhof, Tübingen Neckaraue, Reutlingen Bösmannsäcker and Reutlingen Storlach.

The operating contract is due to run until December 2035, but there is an option for early termination of all or part of the Reutlingen – Bad Urach section of the contract in December 2030 as part of the Neckar-Alb tram-train project.

‘The Netz 18 contract is an important milestone: the start of traffic is also the starting signal for the first sub-project of the Neckar-Alb regional light rail system’, said Reutlingen District Administrator Dr Ulrich Fiedler when the operating contract was announced on January 25. ‘With the expansion of the transport offer, the Neckar-Alb region is growing even closer together, the regional rail transport improves the mobility of each individual and offers the opportunity to make a major contribution on the way to climate neutrality.’