The fleet of 51 type HF1 LRVs will replace Rheinbahn’s fleet of 24 Stadtbahn-B vehicles, which date from 1976-1985, and the 21 P86/89 LRVs, which were originally built for London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in 1986/1989 and acquired by Essen in the early 1990s.

The new LRVs will be the first air-conditioned vehicles to operate on the 19.6km three-line Stadtbahn network. The HF1s will be longer than the existing vehicles, increasing standing capacity from 222 to 282 with 144 seats. The procurement has an estimated cost of €168m and the fleet is due to enter service between 2023 and 2025.

Ruhrbahn also plans to purchase 26 low-floor LRVs - designated type NF4 - at an estimated unit price of €2.8m for the 52.6km metre-gauge tram network. These vehicles will be delivered in 2022-2024, enabling the withdrawal of the city’s remaining high-floor trams.