Baden-Württemberg's Ministry of Transport and the Rhein-Neckar and Rheinland-Pfalz Süd transport authorities have jointly selected DB Regio as preferred bidder for the S-Bahn Rhein-Neckar (Netz 6b) operating contract.
The contract covers the operation of passenger services on lines in Baden-Württemberg and southern Hessen from December 13 2020. The Mannheim - Mainz route in Rheinland-Pfalz will be included from December 12 2021, taking the contract which runs to 2034 to total of 6.03 million train-km/year on five routes:
- S5: (Mannheim Hbf -) Heidelberg Hbf - Meckesheim - Aglasterhausen/Eppingen/Bad Rappenau;
- S6: (Wiesbaden Hbf -) Mainz Hbf - Worms Hbf - Mannheim Hbf - Bensheim;
- S8: Mannheim Hbf - Graben-Neudorf - Karlsruhe Hbf;
- S9: Mannheim Hbf to Groß Rohrheim and Mannheim-Waldhof;
- Murgtäler Radexpress: Mannheim Hbf - Karlsruhe Hbf - Rastatt - Forbach (Schwarzw) - Baiersbronn.
The services will be operated using new Siemens Mireo electric multiple-units, which will offer level access from 760 mm high platforms and free wi-fi.
'Passengers in the Rhein-Neckar metropolitan region can look forward to new rolling stock and an improved timetable with a consistent half-hourly service on almost all lines', said Transport Minister Winfried Hermann when the preferred bidder was announced on June 2. He said the tender showed that the 'Baden-Württemberg model' where the rolling stock is procured by the operator than sold to the Land and leased back to 'has led to more competition and more favourable conditions.'