RRX: Milestone for rail transport

In North Rhine-Westphalia, with its Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area, around 2.4 million people use the regional rail service on a daily basis. The Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) was launched in order to cater for the increasing need for transport services and to provide new incentives for people to switch to rail travel. The system reduces CO2 emissions by 8,500 tonnes of a year.

The “RRX” concept is based on three pillars: the rail infrastructure in the core corridor of Dortmund – Essen – Duisburg – Cologne needs to be restructured and extended. New trains are intended to offer better handling dynamics, increased energy efficiency, higher capacity and more comfort. A new regional transport scheme with seven RRX lines and departures every 15 minutes on the core corridor from Dortmund to Cologne is set to optimise connections and travel times. The result is highly beneficial to the whole region and also from the point of view of climate protection. The project was initiated back in 2006 by the state government and the Federal Ministry of Transport and is now gradually being implemented. The project should be completed in or around 2030.

Engine for progress:

  • Increased appeal of regional transport
  • Departures every 15 minutes on the core corridor once the infrastructure has been expanded
  • Innovative, energy-efficient railcars
  • Annual CO2 emissions reductions of around 8,500 tonnes

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Photo: VRR / Siemens

Photo of the new Desiro HC railcar on the Altenbeken Viaduct. With the gradual introduction of the new trains following preliminary operations in 2018, the capacity of each train will be increased by an average of 200 seats to a total of 800 seats, since the RRX functions almost exclusively in double traction during normal operation.

Energy-efficient railcars and technologies        

The improvement of the service offered on the Regional Express Network began in December 2016 with the first changes to the line structure. In 2018, the first new energy-optimised trains will start preliminary operations on RRX lines. The new railcars are particularly economical, due in part to a new driver assistance system, a braking system with high energy recovery, efficient auxiliary equipment and a weight-optimised design.

Greater appeal with reduced CO2 emissions

The overall concept of the RRX is also aimed at making regional transport significantly more attractive. This is expected to be achieved by means of shorter journey times, more frequent departures, greater reliability and planning capability and modified and extended rail networks. The trains themselves will also be more comfortable: for example, they will have greater seating capacity, free Wi-Fi, electric sockets and reading lamps for permanently installed seats; trains will be accessible to disabled passengers, there will be toilet facilities for the disabled and the noise level will be lower.

The overall RRX concept is intended to encourage as many people as possible to switch from travelling by road to travelling by rail. According to current estimates, this would mean a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 8,500 tonnes a year. This would make RRX a real driving power for climate protection.

Photo: VRR

The Rhine-Ruhr Express is making a vital contribution to the ability to offer passengers high-quality and high-performance rail transport in the future.”

Martin Husmann, Spokesperson of the Board, Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr AöR (Rhine-Ruhr Transport Association)

Partners and sponsors

  • Zweckverband Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr Eigenbetrieb Fahrzeuge und Infrastruktur
  • Zweckverband Nahverkehr Rheinland Eigenbetrieb Fahrzeuge
  • Zweckverband Nahverkehr Westfalen-Lippe Eigenbetrieb Fahrzeuge / Infrastruktur
  • Zweckverband Schienenpersonennahverkehr Rheinland-Pfalz Nord
  • Ministerium für Bauen, Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Verkehr (MBWSV)