PUBLIC transport authority Bavarian Railways (BEG) has selected incumbent Die Länderbahn to operate regional passenger services in East Bavaria from December 2025.
The new contract has been divided into two lots. Lot 1, covering the Upper Palatinate, includes RB23 services from Regensburg to Marktredwitz, as well as Schwandorf - Cham - Furth im Wald (RB27), Cham - Lam (RB28) and Cham - Waldmünchen (RB29).
Lot 1 runs for 12 years from December 2025 to December 2037. BEG says that the German government is planning to electrify the Regensburg - Marktredwitz - Hof route in the 2030s, but the exact timetable for this project has yet to be determined.
Accordingly, Lot 1 contains termination and extension options, which should enable BEG to respond flexibly once the dates for the start and completion of electrification work are set.
Due to further planned infrastructure projects, BEG has divided Lot 1 into two operating stages. Under Stage 1, the current timetable is largely maintained but with additional services.
On routes RB23 and RB27 a full hourly service will be provided, filling the gaps in the existing timetable and particularly in the mornings and evenings. The timing of the last services on route RB29 will be extended to 22.00 from 21.00 on Mondays to Fridays.
Stage 2 will be implemented as soon as the planned new stations on route RB23 between Regensburg and Maxhütte-Haidhof have been brought into service, or when the branch from Maxhütte-Haidhof to Burglengenfeld has been opened to passenger traffic.
Under Stage 2, BEG has the option of specifying an additional hourly service from Regensburg to Burglengenfeld, which would provide a half-hourly service between Regensburg and Maxhütte-Haidhof.
On route RB28 between Cham and Lam, BEG plans to increase the frequency to hourly as soon as the federal government and infrastructure manager DB Network have implemented the planned upgrade that would provide the necessary increase in line speed.
Services in both lots 1 and 2 will continue to be operated with Stadler Regioshuttle DMUs. Alstom Lint 41 DMUs will also be deployed on RB23 services in Lot 1, with BEG noting that both rolling stock types enable step-free boarding from a platform height of 550mm.
Lot 2 covers the Bavarian Forest and comprises the main line from Plattling via Deggendorf and Zwiesel to Bayerisch Eisenstein (RB35) as well as branches from Zwiesel to Grafenau (RB36) and Bodenmais (RB37).
There is an option covering line RB38 from Gotteszell to Viechtach, should regular passenger services be restored on this route. A trial passenger service operated from September 2016 to September 2022.
Lot 2 has a term of nine years from December 2025 to December 2034. For the following contract, BEG says an option for operating rolling stock with alternative traction is currently being examined by consultants to determine economic and technical feasibility.
On December 11 2022 the service frequency on route RB36, serving the popular Bavarian Forest national park, was increased from every two hours to hourly. BEG specified this enhancement under its current operating contract with Die Länderbahn.
BEG also extended operating times, with the first train leaving Grafenau or Zwiesel at 06.30 from Monday to Friday and the last train departing after 21.00. This timetable will be retained from December 2025 and gaps in the schedule filled on routes RB35 and RB37.