Coradia Lint for HLB.

GERMANY: Rhein-Main-transport authority RMV has awarded Hessische Landesbahn a contract to operate Lahntal, Vogelsberg and Rhönbahn regional passenger services for 15 years from December 10 2023, and with its Rheinland-Pfalz Nord counterpart has awarded VIAS the next contract to operate Rheingau services.

The Lahntal, Vogelsberg and Rhönbahn contract covers services RB45 Limburg – Gießen – Fulda and RB52 Fulda – Gersfeld, which are currently operated by HLB. It also includes a new RE24 Limburg – Gießen service in addition to RB45, which will act as a feeder enabling passengers from Gießen to connect with inter-city services at Wetzlar.

There will be some additional RB45 services, but no major changes to RB52 are plannned.

The existing fleet of 23 Alstom Coradia Lint 41 and 54 diesel multiple-units will be refurbished in the first three years of the contract, and 10 new sets of the same type acquired.

The RB10 Rheingau contract covering services from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden, Koblenz and Neuwied also runs for 15 years from December 2023.

The current fleet of 19 Stadler Flirt EMUs will be refurbished and fitted with wi-fi.

Subject to funding, a 20% increase in services is planned for the end of 2024, and a further increase from the end of 2026.

‘The Rheingau line is not only an impressive scenic route, but also a route that is in great demand’, said RMV Managing Director Knut Ringat when the contracts were announced on June 1. ‘With more journeys and space for commuters, we are creating the basis for continuing the success of the line and getting even more people onto the rails.’

Both contracts were won by the incumbents, although the tender required any operator to take on existing staff under terms specified by the Land of Hessen.