€1bn German rail contract secured by National Express

Credit: Shaun Fellows, Shine Pix

National Express has won a contract worth €1bn, over the lifetime of the agreement to operate the RE1 and RE11 Rhein-Ruhr-Express lines in Germany to 2033.
The transport group took over the operation of the two lines in February 2022 through an emergency contract award.
Following this new contract award, it will now operate all three asset light RRX lots under long term contracts. Alongside the firm’s Rhine Munster Express operation, National Express hopes this will cement its position as a “trusted” operator in the region.
The award of this contract now establishes National Express as the second largest rail transport company in the region, delivering an anticipated 20 million train kilometres in 2023.
Ignacio Garat, National Express Group Chief Executive, said: “To have secured this contract on the back of an emergency contract award is testament to our operational excellence and the strength of our proposition in Germany. It is also clear evidence of our Evolve strategy in action, and we look forward to making further progress in realising similar asset-light opportunities across the Company.”

Whilst the firm gains this positive news from Germany, its Birmingham engineers have voted by 93% from a turnout of 80% to strike over pay. Unite the union says the engineers had refused a pay increase of 10.1% as the retail price index inflation rate stood at 13.4% in December.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Despite its healthy profits, National Express expects the people who generated its cash stockpile to accept de-facto pay cuts. National Express needs to improve their unacceptable pay offer. National Express’ West Midlands engineers have their union’s full backing in striking.”

Now, 3,000 bus drivers in the West Midlands will be balloted on the proposed offer of an 8% pay rise.