LEIPZIG public transport authority ZVNL has awarded German Rail’s (DB) regional passenger business DB Regio and Trenitalia subsidiary Netinera contracts to operate the Central Germany S-Bahn network in Saxony, centred on the cities of Leipzig and Halle.

DB Regio has operated the core network since it first took its current form in 2013 with the opening of the City Tunnel running north-south under the centre of Leipzig.

The new contracts have been awarded after detailed negotiations. This followed an initial EU-wide tender where bidders quoted significantly higher costs than those envisaged by ZVNL.

The contracts, which run for 12 years from December 2026 to December 2038, will see the S-Bahn network extended. Both DB Regio and Netinera will order new three and four-car Mireo EMUs from Siemens to replace and supplement the existing fleet.

Most of the current fleet is 10 years old, although small numbers of ex-DR class 143 electric locomotives dating from the 1980s are still in operation and will be replaced under the new contracts.

Netinera will operate a total of 6 million train-km a year on the network’s three longest routes:

  • S3 Nietleben - Halle - Schkeuditz - Leipzig - Borna - Geithain
  • S5 Halle -Trotha - Leipzig/Halle Airport - Leipzig - Altenburg - Gössnitz - Glauchau - Werdau - Zwickau, and
  • S5X Halle - Trotha - Leipzig/Halle Airport - Leipzig - Altenburg - Werdau - Zwickau/Plauen.

DB Regio will operate a total of 3 million train-km a year on three routes:

  • S4 Torgau - Leipzig - Wurzen - Riesa
  • The new S6 Leipzig Stötteritz - Leipzig - Markranstädt - Naumburg route, and
  • S10 Leipzig main station - Schkeuditz.

The neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt will support provision of two additional trains to serve Naumburg and also enable the new route S6 to serve Merseburg.

S-Bahn services to Merseburg will use a new east to north chord at Grosskorbetha connecting the lines from Leipzig and Merseburg. This project has entered the planning phase and is being taken forward by Sachsen-Anhalt transport authority NaSA.

ZVNL is also due to award a separate contract to operate route S1, which will be extended east from its current terminus at Leipzig Stötteritz over the non-electrified route to Döbeln, requiring the deployment of battery-powered trains.