Rhine Ruhr Transport Authority (VRR) awarded National Express a 15-year concession in February 2013 to operate RE7 Rhine-Münsterland Express (Rheine – Münster – Wuppertal – Cologne – Krefeld) and RB48 (Wuppertal – Solingen – Cologne – Bonn) services, covering a total of around 5.1 million train-km per year. National Express says it expects to carry around 18 million passengers per year on the two routes and generate €1.6bn across the duration of the concession.

All services are operated by a fleet of 34 Talent 2 EMUs ordered from Bombardier in June 2013 in a deal worth €170m.

In October National Express signed two contracts to operate Rhine-Ruhr Express services from 2018. The company has also been selected as preferred bidder for a contract to operate the Nuremberg S-Bahn network and a court is expected to decide this week whether the tendering authority, Bavarian Railway Company (BEG), will be allowed to finalise the contract.