The RRX network is intended to bring a consistently high-quality fast regional rail service to Germany's most densely-populated region, with trains running at 15-minute intervals on the core Dortmund – Cologne line. Because of the size of the network, operation has been tendered as three separate contracts.
The three contracts cover a total of 14.6 million train-km per year. Lot 1 covers the operation of 6.2 million train-km per year on lines RE1 (Aachen – Cologne – Essen – Hamm) and RE 11 (Düsseldorf – Essen – Dortmund – Hamm – Kassel) and Abellio has been selected for this contract. National Express will operate Lot 2, covering a total of 6 million train-km per year on lines RE5 (Koblenz – Cologne – Düsseldorf – Wesel) and RE6 (Cologne-Bonn Airport – Cologne – Düsseldorf – Essen – Hamm – Minden), and Lot 3 which covers 2.4 million train-km per year on Line RE4 (Aachen – Mönchengladbach – Hagen – Dortmund).
Services will be operated from the outset by a uniform fleet of 82 four-car Desiro HC EMUs which will be supplied and maintained by Siemens under a contract concluded with VRR in March.
VRR has managed procurement of the three operating contracts on behalf of four other public transport authorities: North Hessen (NVV), Westphalia-Lippe (NWL), Rhineland-Pfalz North (SNNV-Nord), and Rhineland (ZV NVR).
There will now be a 10-day cooling off period before the contracts can be signed.