DB Regio to order new electric fleets after Rhine Valley route win

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DB Regio is to order two new EMU fleets from Siemens after being awarded a contract to operate regional services on the Rhine Valley Railway from 2020.

The Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Transport said DB Regio provided the “most economical” offer for the Network 4 contract, which was let in two lots covering regional express services on the Karlsruhe – Offenburg – Basel route and regional services on the Offenburg – Freiburg – Basel/Neuchâtel route.

The contract specifies around 1.1 million train kilometres per year and 1.9 million train kilometres per year initially for each route respectively.

Announcing DB Regio as the winner, the state of Baden-Württemberg said the cost of operating the regional services will fall from €11.69 per train kilometre to €7.30.

DB Regio has ordered two new electric fleets from Siemens for both routes. Double-deck Desiro HC EMUs will be used between Karlsruhe, Offenburg and Basel, while DB has opted for Siemens’ new single-deck Mireo design between Offenburg, Freiburg and Basel/Neuchâtel.

Several projects are underway to boost capacity on the congested Rhine Valley line. One of these is the Rastatt tunnel which, by creating two additional tracks between Ötigheim and Niederbühl, will separate regional services from long-distance and freight traffic. The tunnel is due to be completed in 2022.

The contract award is subject to a 10-day standstill period.