vlexx GmbH is a rail transport company based in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany and a subsidiary of the Regentalbahn, which in turn has been part of the Italian state railway Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) since 2011 via its parent company Netinera. Vlexx operates local rail passenger transport exclusively with diesel railcars in Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Hesse as well as a connection to France on the Winden-Wissembourg railway line into the Alsace to the railway station of Wissembourg.
The company's name was DNSW when it was founded in 2012 and derived from the route network, the diesel network southwest, whose cornerstones are the Rhineland-Palatinate cities of Mainz, Koblenz, Worms, Kaiserslautern and Idar-Oberstein as well as Saarbrücken in the Saarland and Frankfurt am Main in Hesse. On weekends in the summer season there is also a train pair to Wissembourg in Alsace.
From the outset, the DNSW name was intended only as a temporary solution. In a name competition in January 2014, the public was able to participate in the naming process. In order to underline a regional reference of the company, a suitable name was sought. The choice fell on vlexx, der Vier-Länder-Express (vlexx, the four-country express).
Invitation to tender for the diesel networkEdit
At the end of February 2012, the Regentalbahn was selected by the Zweckverband Schienenpersonennahverkehr Rheinland-Pfalz Süd (ZSPNV Süd) as the winner of the Dieselnetz Südwest - Los 2 tender. Since the 2014/2015 regular timetable change on 14 December 2014, the company has been operating the Mainz-Alzey-Kirchheimbolanden, Frankfurt-Mainz-Bad Kreuznach-Idar-Oberstein-Saarbrücken (Regional-Express services), Mainz-Bad Kreuznach-Kaiserslautern (a Regional-Express train pair during peak working hours) and Mainz-Idar-Oberstein-Baumholder/Neubrücke (Nahe) lines for 22.5 years until June 2037. In December 2016, an additional Regional-Express line was introduced on the Kaiserslautern-Bad Kreuznach-Bingen-Koblenz route, which means that 6.4 million train-kilometres per year now have to be covered. The diesel network southwest contains non-electrified main and secondary railways in Rhineland-Palatinate and connects the Rhenish Hesse, Nahe, Western Palatinate and Saarland regions in particular with the Rhine-Main region and the centres of Mainz, Rüsselsheim am Main and Frankfurt am Main as well as Frankfurt Airport.
A total of 63 LINT 54 and LINT 81 diesel railcars are used for train services. In the meantime, Regentalbahn founded DNSW, a subsidiary to which the provision of services was transferred. The DNSW was later renamed vlexx as part of a competition. The first new vlexx trains have been running since July 2014 on the future operating routes on a trial basis.
Problems during the start of operationsEdit
On 27 November 2014 it became known that vlexx did not have enough train drivers to operate all train services at the timetable change 2014/2015. The former operator of the train services, DB Regio, was therefore commissioned by vlexx to operate individual train services.
When the operation started on 15 December 2014, there were massive train cancellations and, in some cases, delays lasting several hours. As a result, an emergency timetable was published on 17 December with which only about 50% of all train services were served. In addition, the managing directors were dismissed and replaced by Arnulf Schuchmann, the managing director of ODEG, which is also partly owned by Netinera. On 6 January 2015, the emergency timetable was extended in stages so that from 12 January about 90% of all train services could be served again. Since the beginning of March 2015, all contractually agreed connections have been served. This includes in particular the reactivated line between Heimbach and Baumholder, which was only served by a replacement bus.
After Vlexx took over the last service from DB Regio (Bodenheim-Kaiserslautern services) on 1 July 2015 with a six-month delay, train cancellations occurred again due to a lack of personnel. This affected five connections that were taken over by DB Regio and Transregio during the summer holidays in Rhineland-Palatinate or were completely cancelled.
Tender of the E-Netz SaarEdit
On January 9, 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Labour, Energy and Transport of the Saarland announced that vlexx had won Los 2 of the E-Netz Saar-RB, comprising 2.3 million train kilometers. The RB lines Saarbrücken-Neubrücke (Nahe), Saarbrücken-Neunkirchen (Saar)-Homburg and Homburg-Illingen will then be operated by the company. These are to be served by 21 Talent 3 electric railcars. The currently still non-electrified line from Saarbrücken to Lebach-Jabach is also included in the tender lot. This line will initially be operated with Desiro Classic diesel railcars, electrification is planned for 2024, and from then on Talent 3 electric railcars will also be operated there. As an alternative, the use of a battery electric multiple-unit train based on the Talent 3 is planned.
|Weinstraßen-Express||Koblenz Hauptbahnhof – Bad Kreuznach – Neustadt (Weinstraße) Hauptbahnhof – Wissembourg||April until October||LINT 54
|Elsass-Express||Mainz Hauptbahnhof – Alzey – Neustadt (Weinstraße) Hauptbahnhof – Wissembourg||April until October||LINT 54
The contracting authorities and transport associations of Vlexx for these services are:
- Rhineland-Palatinate, the Zweckverband Schienenpersonennahverkehr Rheinland-Pfalz Nord (SPNV-Nord) as well as the Zweckverband Schienenpersonennahverkehr Rheinland-Pfalz Süd (ZSPNV Süd)
- Hesse, the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV)
- Saarland, the Ministry of Economy, Labour, Energy and Transport
- Vlexx-Website: Vlexx – der neue Zug für den Südwesten. Pressemitteilung vom 20. März 2014, abgerufen am 19. November 2014 (PDF-Datei, 203 kB)
- "vlexx GmbH". vlexx.de.
- "Rheinland-Pfalz-Takt an der Nahe, in Rheinhessen und der Pfalz wird verbessert". ZSPNV Süd. 2012-02-29.
- "Kaufvertrag über DNSW-Fahrzeuge auf der InnoTrans in Berlin abgeschlossen". vlexx.de. 2012-09-20. Archived from the original on 2014-11-13.
- "Neue Vlexx-Züge starten zu Testfahrten". vlexx.de. 2014-07-11. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
- Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz: Vlexx ist nur bedingt abfahrbereit – Personalmangel beim privaten Bahnbetreiber. Allgemeine Zeitung vom 27. November 2014
- "Vlexx: Viele Einzelprobleme führten offenbar zum Systemkollaps", Online-Ausgabe der Rhein-Zeitung vom 16. Dezember 2014, abgerufen am 10. Januar 2015
- Chefwechsel nach vlexx Fehlstart SWR Nachrichten vom 23. Dezember 2014
- Allgemeine Zeitung Mainz: Zugverkehr normalisiert sich. Allgemeine Zeitung vom 13. Januar 2015
- vlexx fährt wieder normal – Startschwierigkeiten überwunden vom 23. Januar 2015 auf swr.de
- Notprogramm für ausfallende vlexx-Züge während der rheinland-pfälzischen Sommerferien. Zweckverband SPNV
- "Bombardier und vlexx unterzeichnen Vertrag über die Lieferung von 21 TALENT 3 Zügen für den Betrieb im Saarland". Bombardier Transportation. 2017-03-31.
- "Entscheidung im Vergabeverfahren Elektro-Netz Saar RB". Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit, Energie und Verkehr. 2017-01-09. Archived from the original on 2017-01-12.
- Official website (in German)