The contract covers the operation of around 2.1 million train-km per year on two routes: Stuttgart - Schwäbisch Hall Hessental - Crailsheim and Stuttgart - Horb - Singen/Freudenstadt. Services will be increased to offer half-hourly frequencies during the day between Stuttgart and Murrhardt between Mondays and Saturdays with half-hourly services extended to Schwäbisch Hall at peak times. Journey times between Schwäbisch Hall Hessental and Stuttgart will also be reduced by up to 15 minutes.
The locomotive-hauled trains currently used on these services will be replaced by new Bombardier Talent 2 EMUs from the start of the new contract in 2017, offering improved accessibility and passenger Wi-Fi. Each new four-car train will seat 215 passengers and accommodate up to 30 bicycles.
The contract is due to be signed on August 21 following a 10-day cooling off period.