April 11, 2016

South Thuringia Diesel Network concession signed

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South Thuringia Diesel Network concession signed STB

THURINGIA's state Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture and South Thuringia Railway (STB), a 50:50 joint venture between Erfurt Railway (EB) and Hessen State Railways (HLB) signed an 11-year concession agreement in Erfurt on April 6 for the operation of South Thuringia Diesel Network.

The contract covers the operation of around four million train-km per year from December 2017 on seven non-electrified regional routes:
R41 Eisenach - Eisfeld - Sonneberg (hourly as far Eisfeld, two-hourly Eisfeld - Sonneberg)
R42 Sonneberg - Neuhaus-am-Rennweg (two-hourly)
R44 Erfurt - Meiningen (two-hourly)
R46 Erfurt - Plaue - Ilmenau (hourly)
R48 Fröttstadt - Friedrichroda
E45 Erfurt - Plaue - Ilmenau, and
E50 Erfurt - Zella Mehis - Wernshausen Knowledge Express (two-hourly).

With the exception of E50, which is a new service, all of these routes are already operated by STB.

STB will upgrade the existing fleet of 40 DMU cars to improve accessibility for passengers with reduced mobility and accommodate more bicycles. Capacity will also be adapted to more closely reflect demand and there will be a visible staff presence on all regional express services and half of regional services.

The ministry says that under the proposed redistribution of federal regionalisation funds for rail transport, the federal contribution to the operation of regional services in the state could be cut by up to €500m over the next 15 years, and this has limited the scope for enhancements in the new contract.

"We will continue to fight for reasonable public transport financing in Thuringia to ensure the density of regional rail services can be maintained," says state transport minister Mrs Birgit Keller. "Negotiations will be difficult and exact estimates on the level of subsidy - and therefore the impact on services - can only be made after the completion of talks in Berlin. Nonetheless, we need to achieve a compromise that is workable for all states."

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