The changeover also marked the entry into service of RRX’s fleet of 82 Desiro HC EMUs, which are being supplied and maintained by Siemens under a €1.7bn deal signed in March 2015. Fifteen of the four-car sets are in service on Line RE11, providing a 25% increase in capacity compared with the trains previously deployed on this route, which is used by around 43,000 passengers a day.

The trains are maintained at a purpose-built depot at Dortmund-Eving and Siemens has guaranteed fleet availability of more than 99%.

The RRX network is intended to bring a consistently high-quality fast regional rail service to Germany’s most densely-populated region, ultimately providing a train every 15 minutes on the core Dortmund – Cologne line.

Contracts to operate the network were awarded to Abellio and National Express in October 2015. The launch of the network is being phased, with National Express due to take over services on Line RE 5 (Koblenz - Wesel) in June 2019 and Line RE 6 (Cologne-Bonn Airport - Minden) in December 2019. Line RE 1 (Aachen - Hamm) will transfer to Abellio in June 2020 and finally National Express will begin operation on Line RE 3 (Aachen - Dortmund) in December 2020.