After Stadler won the contract to supply 55 of its FLIRT Akku battery trains to Schleswig-Holstein last year, the first time such trains will run on the German rail network following a competitive tender, the transport manager NAH.SH has begun looking for operators to run the trains.
NAH.SH is looking for train operating companies that will run its new fleet of battery trains until 2035. The rail services contained within the tenders encompass 40 percent of the rail traffic in the state of Schleswig-Holstein. There are three lots in total.
Up until now these contracts have been operated by DB Regio and nordbahn.
“In order to make the tender process attractive to new bidders as well, the lot limitation will guarantee that at least two different operators will receive a contract.
“In other tender processes this method appealed to a greater number of bidders, which contributed to cheaper prices.”
The new contracts require operators to provide free wifi at stations, in the trains and in customer service centres. The future timetable offering will be roughly the same as the current one. If cost-effective offers are made, there are planned improvements for weekend and late-night services.
Furthermore, the route Kiel-Lübeck is to see faster services with two fast trains per hour. These will be supplemented with an additional regional train with additional stops between Kiel and Preetz. There will then be two routes that will be reactivated: Kiel-Schönberger Strand and the connection of the route to Rendsburg-Seemühlen.
The state of Schleswig-Holstein is also investing in its stations. 20 stations will have their platforms refurbished and raised to a height of 76cm to allow for level boarding. Most stations in Schleswig-Holstein are already at 76cm, but at those that are merely at 55cm mobile ramps currently provide access to passengers in wheelchairs. The Stadler FLIRT Akku trains will feature an accessible toilet, which goes beyond the requirements in the TSI PRM.
The new train operators will take up their contracts in line with the runtimes of the current contracts, meaning gradually between December 2022 and December 2023.
All three lots will have an interim fleet of diesel multiple units available in the first year, which can be used as a fallback option in the event of teething problems with the new technology.
After Stadler won the contract in 2019, the decision was made in April 2020 that Paribus Holding would be the future owner of the trains. DB Regio meanwhile said it would provide the interim fleet.
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