Siemens has recently landed a contract to provide and maintain trains for the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area. The Rhine-Ruhr Express (RRX) is being hailed as the project of the century for the region, whose rail connections and public transport systems have been heavily burdened for years.

The region is one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe with a population of approximately 10 million, many of which commute along the Rhine and Ruhr rivers in Germany. It is hoped that the RRX project will steadily ease the conditions for commuters from 2018 when delivery of the new trains begins by eliminating thousands of car trips, shifting traffic from the roads and on to rail.

Siemens have been commissioned to supply 82 Desiro HC electronic units capable of speeds up to 160km per hour and also to provide maintenance services for 32 years. This will mean building a maintenance facility in Dortmund-Eving where up to four trains can be serviced simultaneously. There are also plans for a vehicle hall, specialised workshops, an outside washing station and stabling tracks for up to ten trains. In addition, it is expected that 100 new specialists will work in multiple shifts, not only securing existing jobs in Germany but creating new ones too.

The order includes high-capacity, double-decker trains from the proven Desiro family already in use in many countries including the UK. They are over 100 metres long and have a seating capacity of 400. When in operation two units will be connected making an eight car express with a seating capacity of 800.

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