RHINE-Ruhr Transport Association (VRR) and Westphalia-Lippe Local Transport Association (NWL) have selected Vias Rail as the winner of a joint tender to operate regional services on three routes in North Rhine-Westphalia from December 2023. 

Vias Rail will take over regional express Line RE 16 linking Essen, Hagen and Iserlohn and two regional services: Line RB 91 from Hagen to Iserlohn and Siegen, and Line RB 46 from Bochum to Gelsenkirchen.  

Lines RE 16 and RB 91 will be operated under 11-year contracts, while the contract for Line RB 46 is only for three years as this will be transferred to another network in the state in 2026. 

The annual volume for the three services is 2.5 million train-km. 

Netherlands Railways (NS) subsidiary Abellio Rail ceased operation of the Ruhr-Sieg network in February 2022 due to insolvency. The two authorities arranged a two-year emergency contract with DB Regio NRW while a new tender was organised.