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Roles reversed as Nuremberg’s S-Bahn to be run by UK's National Express.

SmartRail World reports that Deutsche Bahn (DB Regio) have for the first time lost a major Germany S-Bahn (city and suburban overground railway) franchise. Whilst a number of UK rail franchises have been won by European firms (most prominently by Deutsche Bahn-owned Arriva), the roles are reversed in this case with British owned National Express securing a 12-year contract to run the five lines that serve the Nuremberg region of almost 1.5 million inhabitants. The award follows a competitive tender process the contract covers five rail lines in one of the most prosperous parts of Bavaria, Germany's second most populous state. The contract is expected to generate revenues in excess of €1.4bn over the twelve-year period.

The S-Bahn service is currently operated by Deutsche Bahn and carries more than 20 million passengers per year. National Express will start operating from December 2018 and will buy 38 new electric five car trains on behalf of the Bavarian passenger transport authority. National Express - which operates the UK's best performing rail franchise, c2c - will begin operations in Nuremberg in December this year. With the exception of a small service in Bremen, all S-Bahn services across Germany have thus far been operated by Deutsche Bahn. Today's announcement means National Express is therefore the first overseas operator of a significant German S-Bahn.

This contract win follows National Express' success in 2013 in winning two regional rail routes in North Rhine-Westphalia. Dean Finch, National Express Group Chief Executive said: "National Express is delighted to have won another rail contract in Germany, confirming this market as an exciting growth opportunity for the Group. This new rail contract in Bavaria, which builds on our earlier success in North Rhine-Westphalia, is further evidence that our track record in running the UK's leading rail franchise is recognised internationally. We look forward to providing passengers in the Nuremberg region with a high quality rail service for many years to come."

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