The contract will run from December 2015 to December 2023 and covers around 297,000 train-km per year on the route through Jena and Saalfeld.

The contract requires the extension of services which currently terminate at stations in northeast Bavaria through to Nuremberg with the aim of establishing faster and more frequent links between towns in Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria's second-largest city.

The state government says it has opted to award the contract to DB Regio without competition because it is deemed to be the only operator capable of providing the specified service. In line with European and German federal legislation, a contract notice has been published in OJEU in advance of the signing of the contract.