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DB Introduces Germany's Fastest Regional Train Between Bavaria and Thuringia

DB Introduces Germany's Fastest Regional Train Between Bavaria and Thuringia
photo: Siemens Mobility / Public domain/Desiro HC
10 / 06 / 2024

Germany’s fastest regional train between Bavaria and Thuringia is set to go. The new Franconia-Thuringia Express (FTX) operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB) has inaugurated service on the Nuremberg-Erfurt high-speed line, with the scheduled so-called small timetable change.

The modern Siemens trains, ordered by the Free States of Bavaria and Thuringia, will run at a top speed of up to 190 kilometers per hour. To date, only long-distance trains have operated on the northern section of the VDE 8.1, the designation for this new and upgraded line.

Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter and Heiko Büttner, DB Group Representative in Bavaria, together with Karl Blaim, Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Siemens Mobility, officially inaugurated the fast Regio train yesterday at the futuristic railway station in Coburg and sent it off on its first trip to the Thuringian capital. In Erfurt, Thuringia’s Infrastructure Minister Susanna Karawanskij welcomed the new express train.

The new RE 29 line (Nuremberg – Bamberg – Coburg – Erfurt) is the first change-free local transport connection between the Franconian city of Nuremberg and the Thuringian state capital of Erfurt. The new line now takes passengers from Nuremberg to Erfurt in 1 hour 53 minutes, cutting the travel time between the two cities by half.

Even more impressive is the time saved by passengers traveling between Coburg and Erfurt. They now need only 36 minutes and no longer have to change trains for the regional service. In the past, local passengers needed just over three hours and had to make two changes for the same journey.

Christian Bernreiter, Bavarian State Minister for Housing, Construction and Transport: “The new service is a real winner and is sure to be a great hit – especially as it can be used with inexpensive and convenient local transport fares such as the Deutschlandticket (the country-wide Germany Ticket). All passengers will be pleased, from local commuters to day trippers and even business travelers. That’s why the funds provided by the Free States of Bavaria and Thuringia are a good investment. I’m especially pleased that we are providing even more local and regional service as part of the important German Unity transport project. It shows that this high-speed rail line, which was promoted by previous federal governments, is also incredibly valuable for local and regional traffic and for further enhancing the quality of a location, especially for regions like Coburg. This will make the VDE 8.1 an even better model for success!”

Susanna Karawanskij, Thuringian Minister for Infrastructure and Agriculture: “Working in Erfurt, the evening off in Coburg, attending a concert in Nuremberg on the weekend – and all with regional transport? With the inauguration of the Franconia-Thuringia Express on June 9, all this is now possible – and with regional transport that is almost as fast as the ICE. The new trains run from Erfurt to Coburg in 36 minutes and to Nuremberg in just under two hours – and at attractive prices, even with the Germany Ticket. Highly comfortable, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive travel without traffic jams is increasingly becoming a reality, and now also includes WiFi service, state-of-the-art passenger information, and generous space for bicycles. The new Franconia-Thuringia Express is bringing our regions closer together and making them part of our collective homeland. And southern Thuringia is also benefiting from the faster connections. I would like to thank Bayerische Eisenbahngesellschaft in particular for its strong commitment to this project.”

Heiko Büttner, DB Representative for the Free State of Bavaria: “The inauguration of the Franconia-Thuringia Express on the Nuremberg-Erfurt high-speed line marks the opening of a new chapter in cross-border local and regional rail passenger transport between Bavaria and Thuringia. This first direct connection in local transport between Nuremberg/Coburg and Erfurt marks a truly quantum leap in service. The new six-car trains provide 3,000 more seats every day, which will especially benefit our passengers on the busy Nuremberg-Bamberg route. We can now offer people in northern Franconia even better and significantly expanded local service with many travel options to both the north and south.”

Karl Blaim, Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Siemens Mobility: “We are delighted to officially hand over our six-car Desiro HC trains to Deutsche Bahn for the timetable change. With a top speed of 190 km/h, they are among the fastest regional trains in Germany. Not only do they operate safely with the modern European Train Control System, but they also provide the highest level of comfort and convenience with features like special high-frequency windows for better mobile phone reception, a modern passenger information system, and space for up to 60 bicycles.”

The new Desiro HC: High-speed service on the VDE 8.1

Siemens Mobility has redesigned eight six-car Desiro HC double-decker trains specifically for use on the VDE 8.1 line. The new trains run at high speeds, are pressure-tight for passing other trains in tunnels, and are equipped with the modern European Train Control System, which provides advanced control and safety technology for Germany’s rail system. Like the 18 four-car Desiro HC trains that entered service for the FTX back in December, the new six-car trains are equipped with WiFi service, advanced passenger information displays, large multi-purpose areas, and special windows that provide optimal mobile phone reception. The new trains can accommodate 634 passengers and up to 60 bicycles.

More frequent and faster – new rail routes, also with the Germany Ticket

Beginning with the scheduled so-called small timetable change, people in northern Bavaria are benefiting from further improvements in service, particularly in the Coburg area. Twice as many express trains now run from Coburg and Sonneberg to Nuremberg (RE 19) without transfers, providing 16 trains per direction between Coburg and Nuremberg every day. As a result, travel routes, such as between Coburg and the state capital Munich, are now much faster. The five pairs of trains operating on the RE 29 line supplement Coburg’s ICE connection to two-hourly service northwards, enabling travelers to get to Berlin or Frankfurt, for example, faster and more frequently.

Deutsche Bahn launched the service of 18 four-car Desiro HC trains on the Franconia-Thuringia Express at the last timetable change in December 2023, enabling continuous half-hourly service between Nuremberg and Bamberg every day.

Source: Siemens Mobility Press Releases