National Express RRX RE1 at Duesseldorf Hbf

GERMANY: National Express Rail has been selected to operate passenger services RE1 Aachen – Hamm and RE11 Düsseldorf – Paderborn – Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe for 10 years from the December 2023 timetable change.

The €1bn contract tendered by Rhein-Ruhr transport authority VRR, go.Rheinland (formerly NVR), Westfalen-Lippe authority NWL and Nordhessen’s NVV covers the operation of around 7 million train-km/year, using existing Siemens Mobility electric multiple-units.

The German subsidiary of UK-based National Express was named preferred bidder on January 17, with formal award subject to a standstill period.

National Express has operated the two services since February 1 2022, when it was awarded a short-term contract after Abellio pulled out. It also operates the region’s services RE4, RE5 and RE6.

Over the next decade, these various services are to be incorporated into the Rhein-Ruhr-Express network. The RRX investment programme is scheduled for completion in 2033, by which time regional trains will run between Dortmund and Köln every 15 min.

‘To have secured this contract on the back of an emergency contract award is testament to our operational excellence and the strength of our proposition in Germany’, said National Express Group CEO Ignacio Garat. ‘It is also clear evidence of our Evolve strategy in action, and we look forward to making further progress in realising similar asset-light opportunities across the company.’