Niederrhein-Münsterland CAF battery electric multiple-unit (3)

GERMANY: The Rhein-Ruhr and Westfalen-Lippe transport authorities have signed a contract for CAF to supply and maintain a fleet of 63 battery-electric multiple-units. This will enable the replacement of diesel traction on the Niederrhein-Münsterland regional network, which includes around 200 km of non-electrified line.

Announcing the signing of the contract on April 4, VRR board member Ronald Lünser said Niederrhein-Münsterland would be the largest battery train network in Germany, with seven routes totalling more than 6 million train-km/year.

Niederrhein-Münsterland CAF battery electric multiple-unit (1)

The Civity BEMUs will be supplied in two lengths, with 15 being 45 m long with 120 seats and 48 being 55 m long with 160 seats. They will have folding tables, power sockets, wi-fi and step-free access from 760 mm high platforms.

The first unit is scheduled to be delivered for testing in 2024, with gradual entry into traffic as the Niederrhein-Münsterland services are launched.

Various infrastructure works are also planned, including platform lengthening, station accessibility works, depot expansion, the provision of reversing facilities at Geldern and electrification at Coesfeld. A former freight line from Rheinkamp to Kamp-Lintfort will be reopened in June 2026 to serve a university campus.

The longest section of non-electrified route on the Niederrhein-Münsterland network is the 65 km between Krefeld Hbf and Kleve. An ‘island’ of overhead electrification is to be provided in the Kleve station area, enabling arriving BEMUs to be recharged for the return journey.


Transport authorities VRR and NWL plan to begin switching their rail services from diesel to locally emission-free operation from 2025, with 90% of services scheduled to be electric by 2030.

Niederrhein-Münsterland CAF battery electric multiple-unit (2)

They selected CAF as preferred bidder for the BEMU order in June 2021, and the contract was signed on April 4. The authorities are financing the order using loans from the European Investment Bank and NRW.BANK.

The BEMUs will be made available to the winners of the future train operating contracts, with the manufacturer providing maintenance throughout the fleet’s 30-year service life.

‘We want to encourage more people to travel by bus and train. To do this, we need a reliable and flexible rail service’, said Dr Hendrik Schulte, State Secretary at the Nordrhein-Westfalen Ministry of Transport. ‘Clean and modern electric trains will significantly improve mobility and thus the quality of life of people in the region.’

  • An order for a further 10 of the longer version of the BEMUs was announced on April 15.
Niederrhein-Münsterland network
Service Route Launch date
RE10 Niers-Express Kleve – Geldern – Krefeld – Düsseldorf December 2028
RE14 Emscher-Münsterland-Express Essen – Bottrop – Dorsten – Borken/Coesfeld December 2026
RE44 Fossa-Emscher-Express Kamp-Lintfort – Moers – Duisburg – Oberhausen – Bottrop December 2025
RB31 Der Niederrheiner Xanten – Moers – Duisburg December 2025
RB36 Ruhrort-Bahn Oberhausen – Duisburg-Ruhrort December 2025
RB37 Niers-Erft-Bahn Geldern – Krefeld – Neuss December 2027
RB43 Emschertal-Bahn Dortmund – Herne – Dorsten December 2028
The services will total 6 million train-km/year.