Minister Hermann provides information on operator change

Thanks to the regional trains ordered by the state, the rail lines running through Stuttgart will be significantly expanded from 9 June 2019 onwards. On Thursday in Stuttgart, Minister of Transport Winfried Hermann along with the new train companies Abellio and Go-Ahead as well as the current operator DB Regio provided information about the upcoming operator change in the Stuttgart rail network.

The change will successively bring about many improvements in terms of running intervals and train capacities. The following are particularly notable:

  • On work days, train service from Stuttgart to Aalen and from Stuttgart or Bietigheim-Bissingen to Pforzheim will be provided in half-hour intervals with Metropolexpress trains (MEX).
  • Frequency of the IRE connections between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe will be increased to 3 non-stop trains in 2 hours (in combination with the IC, the interval will be half-hourly); on weekends, two IRE trains will run in 2 hours
  • New IRE connection Stuttgart – Aalen in in two-hour intervals (in combination with the IC, the interval will be hourly) with through service to Karlsruhe
  • New portion working concept: hourly MEX direct connection Stuttgart – Mühlacker – Pforzheim. Portion working of the train in Mühlacker; the second train part will alternate hourly as a regional train (RB) in the direction of Bretten – Bruchsal (calling at all stops) and as a regional express (RE) in the direction of Bruchsal – Heidelberg (only calling at the intermediate stops in Bretten, Bruchsal, Bad Schönborn-Kronau, Wiesloch-Walldorf).
  • On Sundays in the summer, there will be four “Enztäler Radexpress” train pairs instead of two: Extension of the trains from Stuttgart through Pforzheim to Bad Wildbad
  • New night connections on the weekends (two train pairs each)

The FLIRT-3 vehicles produced by the train manufacturer Stadler for Go-Ahead will all be delivered in time for the operator change. Go-Ahead expects permits for passenger transportation which have yet to be granted by the Federal Railway Authority (Eisenbahn-Bundesamt, EBA) to be issued by 09/06/2019.

Minister Hermann said: “Go-Ahead’s passengers will not only profit from the expanded range of offers, but also from new trains on just about every line. In terms of the permits, we are in close and constructive collaboration with the EBA. However, should they, against all odds, not be granted on time, Go-Ahead and DB-Regio have created a concept for the introductory phase This would allow for an extensive comprehensive implementation of the planned expansion of services”.

The situation at the train company Abellio is quite a different one. Unfortunately, the manufacturer Bombardier Transportation will be unable to deliver the necessary Talent 2 vehicles on time. Abellio has therefore organised a concept for the introductory phase until the end of August. This encompasses temporarily operating vehicles of the classes 425 and 426 (DB-Regio) and 450 (city train vehicles of AVG). This means that the new timetable can be operated almost to its full extent. However, due to the differences in vehicle type, some trains will have fewer seats than planned. Furthermore, the “flying Heidelberger” (fliegender Heidelberger) will be unable to call at the Bad Schönborn-Kronau stop.

Minister Hermann criticised: “Bombardier’s delivery delay is very unfortunate. However, Abellio was quick to develop a concept for the introductory phase. That means that we can fulfil almost all additional offers which were ordered by the state for the benefit of the passengers. I would like to thank the train companies DB-Regio, AVG, and agilis for making their trains available to Abellio”.

Dr. Roman Müller, Chief Managing Director of Abellio Rail Baden-Württemberg GmbH added: “Despite the vehicle delivery delay at Bombardier, we are very excited about starting our work in Baden-Württemberg. We have found a good way to offer our future passengers stable regional rail service and an improved timetable right from the start. After three years of preparation, we are excited to finally begin operations and offer our Abellio service to our passengers. We would like to thank DB-Regio, AVG, and agilis for temporarily providing us with replacement vehicles. I also wish to extend my thanks to our hard-working employees. They are the main reason why we will be able to begin our work as the new operator on the rails in the Neckartal on 9 June 2019.

The manager and commissioner of Go-Ahead Baden-Württemberg, Dr. Hans-Peter Sienknecht, said: “We are very excited about beginning operations and welcoming our new passengers this summer. We are optimistic that all ordered services will be able to be reliably provided from the very first day. For many years, we have strived to embody the spirit of collaborative partnership with other transport companies. We would welcome a passenger-friendly situation in this industry in which it is the norm for competition amongst companies to end with the tender so that we can all work together to get more people off the roads and onto the tracks”.

Martin Selig, the production manager of DB Regio Baden-Württemberg, explained: “In the interest of the passengers, DB Regio, being the largest operator in Baden-Württemberg’s local transport, is decidedly supportive of the operator transition. Such a transfer also represents a big organisational challenge for us. Therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to thank our employees who, despite the upcoming workplace change, put so much effort into achieving a smooth transition and who are making support in the form of vehicles and personnel possible”.


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Erik Bethkenhagen
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