THE Rhine-Ruhr Transport Association (VRR) and Westphalia-Lippe Local Transport (NWL) have awarded DB Regio a contract to operate five of the seven lines in the Lower Rhine-Münsterland network.

The contract was awarded following a European-wide tender and calls for the provision of up to four million train-km a year using EMUs equipped with batteries for operation on non-electrified routes (BEMUs). The operating contract will be confirmed following a 10-day holding period.

The contract, which runs until 2040, includes:

  • RE14 Emscher Münsterland Express (Essen-Steele - Bottrop - Dorsten - Borken/Coesfeld)
  • RB31 Niederrheiner line (Duisburg - Moers - Xanten)
  • RB36 Ruhrort line (Oberhausen - Duisburg-Ruhrort)
  • RB43 Emschertal line (Dortmund - Herne - Dorsten), and
  • RE44 Fossa Emscher Express (Kamp-Lintfort - Moers - Duisburg - Oberhausen - Bottrop).

Operation will begin on the RE44, RB31 and RB36 lines in December 2025, followed by RE14 in December 2026. Services on RB43 will begin in December 2028. RE44 services are expected to be extended over the Rheinkamp - Kamp-Lintfort Süd branch in mid-2026 following a project to upgrade interlockings on this route to enable connection with the main line at Rheinkamp.

VRR and NWL signed a contract with CAF in April to purchase 63 Civity BEMUs which will replace diesel vehicles. The trains operating on lines RB36 and RB43 will have 120 seats, while the trains operating on the other lines will have 160 seats, increasing capacity.

A tender to operate lines RE10 (Kleve - Geldern - Krefeld – Düsseldorf) and RB37 (Geldern - Krefeld – Neuss) is ongoing.