Müngstener bridge (Photo: Ffilibgigli/Pixabay)

GERMANY: Transport authority VRR has awarded Transdev Rhein-Ruhr a contract to operate Wuppertal – Remscheid – Solingen passenger service S7 for five years from December 2023, with an option for a further three years.

S7 services totalling 1·47 million train km-year run every 20 min and are operated using Alstom Lint 41 DMUs provided by the transport authority. The route is notable for crossing the Müngstener Bridge, the highest railway bridge in Germany at 107 m.

S7 is currently operated by VIAS Rail under an short-term emergency agreement. This was awarded to ensure continuity of service while a new contract was tendered following the demise of Abellio’s operations in Nordrhein-Westfalen in early 2022.

The contract win ‘is our first major success’, said Managing Director of Transdev Rhein-Ruhr Christian Kleinenhammann on September 27. Some of the operator’s existing contracts are set to end by the end of 2025, and the win ‘is a clear signal for the employees and our new RheinRuhrBahn to move forward. We are therefore positive about the other upcoming tenders.’

VRR’s longer term ambition is for the DMUs to be replaced by battery-electric multiple-units and services extended from Solingen to Düsseldorf.