GERMANY: Passenger services were reintroduced on the 28 km Bad Bentheim – Neuenhaus route in Niedersachsen on July 6, following a €21m project to upgrade Bentheimer Eisenbahn’s previously freight-only line. Discounted preview fares were offered on the first day, with the full revenue service beginning on July 7.

The line’s passenger services were replaced by railway-operated buses in 1974, but in 2015 the Land of Niedersachsen and the Bentheim, Nordhorn and Neuenhaus local authorities agreed to fund upgrading of the infrastructure to permit passenger trains to be reinstated.

The RB56 Regiopa Express service is operated by Bentheimer Eisenbahn under a three-year contract awarded by Land transport authority LNVG. In early 2017 the operator directly awarded Alstom a contract to supply five Coradia Lint 41 diesel multiple-units for the line, after a market study concluded that Alstom was the only supplier which would be able to deliver vehicles on a short timescale with type approval and complying with the Land’s accessibility requirements.

The hourly service calls at Quendorf, Nordhorn-Blanke, Nordhorn and Neuenhaus Süd. The journey time is 32 min, compared to 48 min by bus. At Bad Bentheim passengers can interchange with the Hengelo – Bielefeld service RB61 operated by Keolis under the Eurobahn brand.