THE Oberelbe Transport Authority (VVO) in the German state of Saxony has awarded German Rail (DB) subsidiary DB Regio the contract to operate regional services on the Oberelbe electric network.

The 14-year contract starts in December 2026 and will run to December 2040, covering operation of electric services from Dresden to Leipzig, Hoyerswerda and Cottbus.

DB Regio will initially operate 3.1 million train-km a year, increasing to 3.9 million train-km in 2035 when the future Dresden S-Bahn line S6 will be transferred to the new Oberelbe contract.

The Dresden - Elsterwerda S6 route will be operated as line RB31 under the separate Lausitz contract from 2026 until 2035.

The Oberelbe contract makes provision for increasing train capacity. Dresden - Leipzig services will be operated by five-car Twindexx Vario EMUs with additional capacity for bicycles.

Services from Dresden to Hoyerswerda and Cottbus will be operated with four-car Talent 2 EMUs, which will operate in multiple more frequently than at present.

All trains will have a conductor on board, and will have as standard power sockets and free onboard Wi-Fi for passengers.

Siemens Mireo EMUs released from the Lausitz network will supplement Talent EMUs on line S6 until 2035. Line S6 from Dresden to Elsterwerda will have an hourly service at regular intervals throughout the day.

In order to meet dramatic increases in both staff and energy costs, the federal government has provided additional funding to the states for regional public transport services.

“Saxony has quickly passed on the additional funding to regional public transport authorities,” says VVO CEO, Mr Burkhart Ehlen, who added that €35.3m has been allocated to VVO.

Of the additional funding, €18.7m will be used to support regional train operations in Saxony, without which it would have been forced to cut back services.

The remaining €16.6m will support local transport, including the light rail system in Saxony’s capital Dresden.