GERMANY: Niedersachsen transport authority LNVG has awarded DB Regio a contract to operate a bundle of local passenger services on non-electrified routes for eight years from December 2021.

The Niedersachsen Mitte contract combines the previous Heidekreuz contract, held by Erixx and covering services RB37 Bremen Hbf – Soltau – Uelzen and RB38 Hannover Hbf – Soltau – Buchholz/N, with the Weser/Lammetalbahn contract, which is currently held by Nordwestbahn. This covers services RB77 Hildesheim – Hameln – Löhne – Bünde and RB79 Hildesheim – Bodenburg.

The combined contract totals 4·48 million train-km/year.

All services will have an onboard attendant, up from 70% at present, and wi-fi will be extended to all routes. Existing employees can transfer to the new operator, and the operator has to demonstrate it has sufficient staff to ensure serves can run and that it is training enough staff to meet future needs.

The 36 Alstom Lint 41 diesel multiple-units from LNVG’s vehicle pool will continue to be used until the end of their economic lives, although LNVG head Carmen Schwabl said the authority has committed to not buying any more new diesel rolling stock.