BAVARIAN Railway Company (BEG) has selected Agilis for a 12-year contract to continue to operate non-electrified rail services in Upper Franconia and neighbouring regions, including cross-border services to the Czech Republic.

The new contract will commence in December 2023 and comprises 10 lines. Agilis already operates eight of the routes while the contract includes two new services: a partial stretch of the Hof - Gutenfürst line, which is currently operated by Erfurter Bahn; and the Bavarian section of the RB 95 Hof - Selb - Plößberg - Aš/Asch (Czech Republic) - Cheb/Eger (Czech Republic) line, currently operated by Die Länderbahn.

The contract was awarded on October 12 following a 10-day standstill period. The other diesel lines comprise:

  • RB 18 Coburg - Bad Rodach
  • RB 22 Ebermannstadt - Forchheim (- Bamberg - Lichtenfels)
  • RB 24 Coburg - Lichtenfels - Bayreuth
  • RB 26 Bamberg - Ebern
  • RB 34 Weiden - Bayreuth - Weidenberg
  • RB 95 Gutenfürst - Hof - Selb city
  • RB 96 Gutenfürst - Hof - Asch (Czech Republic)
  • RB 97 Bayreuth - Marktredwitz - Hof - Bad Steben
  • RB 98 Gutenfürst - Hof - Münchberg - Helmbrechts, and
  • RB 99 Gutenfürst - Hof - Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg.

BEG is requesting Agilis operate 5.4 million train-km per year, an increase of around 8% from the 5 million train-km it currently offers as BEG responds to increasing demand in the region; passenger numbers increased by 7% on the Agilis-Nord network between 2012 and 2019. Among the improvements is the introduction of an hourly services on the Forchheim - Ebermannstadt, Breitengüßbach - Ebern, and Coburg - Bad Rodach lines until late in the evening. BEG is also seeking to increase off-peak frequency both during the day and in the evening, and a boost in early morning services.

The Bavarian town of Hof will also benefit from improved frequency, including to a new station, Hof Mitte, which will open in 2025. The station will offer an hourly service to Münchberg, and two-hourly to Helmbrechts, Selb Stadt and Neuenmarkt-Wirsberg. A new reversing track will be constructed at Hof Mitte to enable trains to terminate at the station.

Two hourly services to the Czech Republic will split at Selb Stadt station, improving connectivity at the Czech stations, particularly Cheb where passengers will be able to continue to Pilsen, Karlovy Vary and Prague.

Agilis also secured a contract extension from BEG for its Danube Valley routes as well as the Regensburg - Nuremberg line currently operated by DB Regio earlier this year. This contract will commence in December 2024.