The planned sub-contract, which will last for six months with an option for a six-month extension, coincides with the start of Abellio’s operation of the Stuttgart - Plochingen - Tübingen route, which is the last part of the Neckar Valley contract to be transferred from previous operator DB Regio. WFL will provide train drivers, rolling stock consisting of former DB Regio coaches and leased electric locomotives and undertake maintenance. Abellio onboard staff will work on the trains.
WFL is currently operating services for GoAhead on the RE90 route from Stuttgart to Nuremberg. This contract was due to end in March but has been extended to the end of April. It appears likely the same sets of locomotive-hauled coaches used here will be deployed for the Abellio contract.
Abellio is suffering from a severe shortage of EMUs as the majority of the 52 Talent 2 EMUs on order for the Neckar Valley contract from Bombardier have not been delivered. In addition, approval to operate three trains in multiple has not yet been secured and is not expected before June.
Abellio has been using a fleet of DB-owned class 425/426 EMUs to operate services on the routes it took over in December 2019.