GERMANY’s Upper Elbe Transport Association (VVO) has finalised a 10-year contract with DB Regio to operate four regional diesel services in the Dresden area. DB Regio will take over from the start of the new timetable on December 11. 

The routes are: 

  • Dresden - Kamenz 
  • Dresden - Königsbrück 
  • Heidenau - Altenberg, and 
  • Pirna - Sebnitz. 

VVO invited bids to operate these services after the previous operator Städtebahn Sachsen was forced to quit before its contract expired and was declared bankrupt in July 2019. A provisional contract was awarded to Transdev subsidiary Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn until a new permanent operator could be found. 

Under the new contract, the annual volume is 2 million train-km, about 300,000 more than in the previous contract. Train frequencies will be increased on some of the lines, such as Dresden - Kamens where the current hourly service will be stepped up to a half- hourly frequency. 

DB Regio will operate the services with about 110 employees, most of whom will transfer from Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn. DB Regio is modernising 21 class 642 Siemens Desiro two-car DMUs for the network, which will be completed in 2023. The refurbished trains will have a new interior and facilities such as Wi-Fi, real-time passenger information and screens. The first modernised train is scheduled for completion in February 2022. 

As the Dresden - Kamenz line will meet the quality standards for an S-Bahn service, it will be become Line S8 of the Dresden S-Bahn network.