Warnow II network

Mecklenburg Vorpommern Transport (VMV) is inviting for bids for a 15-year contract for partial operation of the Warnow II network from December 15 2024. The contract comprises the following lines:

  • Rostock - Warnemünde
  • Rostock - Schwaan/Laage - Güstrow
  • Wismar- Rostock- Tessin, and
  • Rostock - Graal Müritz/Ribnitz Damgarten

Services will be split into electric operation of 1.9 million train-km on the Rostock S-Bahn line S1 (Rostock - Warnemünde) S2 (Güstrow - Schwaan- Warnemünde) and S3 (Warnemünde - Laage - Güstrow) and Rostock - Ribnitz Damgarten.

Battery-electric hybrid rail vehicles will deployed from the start of the 2027 timetable for 13 years on line RB11 (Wismar - Rostock - Tessin), RB12 (Bad Doberan - Rostock - Graal Müritz) and Rostock - Ribnitz Damgarten for annual volume of 1.5 million train-km.

For the electric train services, VMV permits the use of both new and used trains, but requires new rolling stock for the hybrid network. The deadline for bids is April 30.

Lower Rhine-Münsterland Network Part 2

Rhine-Ruhr Transport (VRR) is currently evaluating bids to operate regional services on Lower Rhine- Münsterland Network Part 2, comprising 4 million train-km on:

  • RE 14 (Essen Steele - Borken/Coesfeld)
  • RE 44 (Kamp Lintfort Mitte - Bottrop)
  • RB 31 (Xanten - Duisburg)
  • RB 36 (Oberhausen - Duisburg Ruhrort), and
  • RB 43 (Dortmund - Dorsten).

The 15-year contract will commence on December 14 2025 apart from RE 14, which will start in December 2026, and RB 43 which will commence in December 2028. VRR will make the necessary BEMU sets available, which will used throughout the contract. Operation of lines RE10 and RB41 will tendered separately.

Services are currently operated by NWB, which is held by Transdev. Photo: Quintus Vosman

Hydrogen trains for Elbe-Weser network

Lower Saxony Transport Authority (LNVG) in cooperation with the city of Bremen has announced a tender for operation of regional passenger services using hydrogen trains on RB 33 Cuxhaven - Bremerhaven - Bremervörde - Stade on the Elbe-Weser network.

Operation of the five-year contract will commence in December 2021. Hydrogen services should not start later than in 2022. The annual volume is about 1.22 million train km.

The tender will be based on a direct award to an existing Elbe-Weser operator or another company currently in a contract with LNVG.

“The period between December 2021 until December 2025 will be used to gain the necessary experience and generate data for costs of future operations with fuel cell-hydrogen-propelled trains,” LNVG said in a statement. “A competition cannot take place at the moment due to the absence of data on operation with fuel cell-hydrogen propelled rolling stock.”

Eifel-Bördebahn bidding closes

Bidding closed on January 7 for a tender held by Rhineland Public Transport Authority (NVR) to operate RB 28, the 30km Eifel-Bördebahn railway between Düren and Zülpich-Euskirchen.

Operation of the service, which accounts for 350,000 train-km per year, will commence on December 12 2021 and will run until December 13 2025. There is no option to extend the contract.

Alex North contract extended

Länderbahn will operate Alex North for another year. Photo: Quintus Vosman

BEG has issued a one-year direct award extension of the contract with Länderbahn, the German subsidiary of Trenitalia, for operation of Alex services on the Munich Main Station - Regensburg - Schwandorf - Hof line IR 25 North. Trains split at Schwandorf, continuing to Furth im Wald and Prague for an annual volume of about 2.8 million train-km.

The interim contract enables BEG to prepare a tender for the new Express East Bavaria network in Upper Franconia, Upper Palatine, Lower Bavaria, and Upper Bavaria. The network will abandon the link to Prague and is set to become operational in December 2023.

BEG releases details of upcoming east Bavaria tender

Bavarian Railway Company (BEG) has announced details of an upcoming tender for operation of regional services in East Bavaria and the restructuring of tendered services in Upper Palatine and Bavarian Forest regions near the border with the Czech Republic.

The combined annual train-km will increase from 5.3 million to 5.8 million train-km, and the tender will be split into three lots, the first two of which will be 12-year contracts running from December 2025 with options for three one-year extensions. Used or existing vehicles will be used.

Lot 1 Naabtal: comprises the Regensburg - Martkredwitz and Regensburg - Maxhütte Haidhof - Burglengenfeld lines for an annual volume of 2.3 million train-km.

Lot 2 Chamener Spinne: comprises the Cham - Waldmünchen, Cham - Lam and Furth im Wald - Schwandorf lines for 1.5 million train-km per year.

Lot 3 Waldbahn: comprises the Plattling - Bayerisch Eisenstein line, with some services extended into the Czech Republic as far as Klatovy as well as Zwiesel - Grafenau, Zwiesel - Bodenmais, and Gotteszell- Vietach for a total annual volume of 2 million train-km. The five-year contract will commence in December 2025 with options for two one-year extensions.

Both DB Network and Czech infrastructure manager SŽ are planning electrification projects in the area, specifically between Furth im Wald and Domazlice on the line from Pilsen to the Czech-German border, which will impact future operation.

VBB wants alternative propulsion for Prignitz network

Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Authority (VBB) has commenced the tender process for regional train services for Prignitz Network, comprising RB 73 (Neustadt an der Dosse - Kyritz Bürgerpark) and RB 74 (Kyritz Bürgerpark- Meyenburg) for 250,000 train-km per year from December 15 2022 until December 2028.

VBB prefers the use of “alternative” propulsion to reduce CO2 emissions. The tender may also be splits into lots.

Saxon narrow-gauge line contract renewed

The majority of the lines are operated using steam locomotives. Photo: Keith Fender

Saxon transport authorities Oberelbe Transport Authority (ZVOE) and Central Saxony Transport Authority (ZVMS) have awarded a five-year direct award contract from 2023 to 2028 to incumbent operator Saxon Steam Railway company (SDG), which is owned by the two transport authorities, to operate three narrow gauge railway lines:

  • Radebeul Ost - Radeburg line north of Dresden, which accounts for 51,000 train-km annually
  • Freital Hainsberg - Kurort Kipsdorf line west of Dresden, which accounts for 50,000 train km annually, and
  • Cranzahl - Oberwiesenthal line south of Chemnitz, which accounts for 63,000 train kms annually.

Services on all lines are mostly hauled by steam locomotives built in the 1930-50s although some diesel units are used. All of the lines rely heavily on tourist traffic but operate daily carrying local residents.

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