Transport operator Transdev Group has secured a contract worth more than €1.5bn to operate the 385km-long regional rail network in Hannover, the capital city of the German state of Lower Saxony.

The contract was jointly awarded by the Hannover Region (RH), Lower Saxony State Transit Authority (LNVG) and Westfalia-Lippe Local Transit (NWL) following a Europe-wide tender process.

Transdev will operate the city’s regional rail network through its NordWestBahn subsidiary from December 2021 to June 2034.

Staff from the previous operator of the regional rail network will also transfer to Transdev.

“We are strengthening our position as the second largest rail operator in Germany.”

Transdev Group chairman and CEO Thierry Mallet said: “This award will be an exceptional accomplishment for our group, and one of the largest contracts in our Group’s history.

“In this respect, we are strengthening our position as the second largest rail operator in Germany.

“We will be delivering on our promise for improved municipal rail services and will fulfil our commitments to make this critical project a success for both our clients and customers.”

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Transdev will offer services using a fleet of 13 existing and 64 new Stadler trains. It also plans to order Stadler FLIRT 160 trains capable of operating at a top speed of 160 km/h carrying 397 passengers.

The company is expected to invest nearly €300m for the acquisition of new rolling stock.