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Franken-Thüringen-Express sprints with Desiro HCs on the Nürnberg - Erfurt HSL

posted on 7th Jun 2024 16:10

On 7 June 2024, Bayern's Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter and Heiko Büttner, DB Group Representative in Bayern, together with Karl Blaim, Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Siemens Mobility, officially inaugurated the fast Regio train at the futuristic station in Coburg and send it off on its first run to the Thuringian capital. In Erfurt, Thuringia’s Infrastructure Minister Susanna Karawanskij welcomed the new express train. 

The new Franken-Thüringen-Express (FTX) operated by DB will start regular passenger service on the Nürnberg - Erfurt high-speed line on 9 June, with the 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 km/h. 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. 

The new RE 29 Nürnberg - Bamberg - Coburg - Erfurt line is the first change-free local transport service 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 9 June, 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.” 

The new Class 4462 trains provide 3,000 more seats every day, which will especially benefit passengers on the busy Nürnberg - Bamberg route. With a top speed of 190 km/h, they are among the fastest regional trains in Germany. Siemens Mobility has redesigned eight six-car Desiro HC double-deck EMUs specifically for use on the VDE 8.1 line. They are pressure-tight for passing other trains in tunnels and are equipped with the ETCS. Like the 18 four-car Class 1462 Desiro HC trains that entered service for the FTX back in December 2023, the new trains are equipped with WiFi service, advanced passenger information displays, large multi-purpose areas, and special windows that provide optimal mobile phone reception. The Class 4462s can accommodate 634 passengers and up to 60 bicycles.

Beginning with the 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 Nürnberg (RE 19) without transfers, providing 16 trains per direction between Coburg and Nürnberg every day. As a result, travel routes, such as between Coburg and the state capital München, 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 service of 18 Class 1462 EMUs on the FTX at the timetable change in December 2023, enabling continuous half-hourly service between Nürnberg and Bamberg every day. The operation of the Desiro HC EMUs brings the end for the 160 km/h double-deck rakes hauled by Railpool Vectrons on the VDE 8.1, which started in December 2017.

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