Germany: NETINERA to start four new routes in 2014

Posted: 11 April 2014 | | No comments yet

NETINERA is one of the largest private regional rail operators in Germany. Before 2011 it belonged to the British Arriva plc company until it was acquired by a financial consortium of the Italian national railway company, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS) and the French-Luxembourgian infrastructure company, Cube Infrastructure. In 2014, NETINERA will start four new regional rail routes in Germany.

Since the beginning of the rail reform in 1994, private rail operators are constantly winning more tenders in Germany. One of the successful private competitors for regional rail traffic on the German market is NETINERA. The company, formerly known as Arriva Deutschland GmbH, changed its name to NETINERA, a compound of the words ‘Net’ for network and ‘itinera’ meaning ‘on the way’ in Latin, after its acquisition by FS (51%) and Cube Infrastructure (49%). NETINERA’s three board members are based in the company’s offices in Berlin and they have worked together since May 2013. The first step of the new management was to reorganise the company’s structure to make it more competitive and flexible.

Arriva’s company structure was complex due to numerous acquisitions during recent years; so it was important to downsize the company’s organisational structure to make it more dynamic.

With its nine railway companies, NETINERA currently holds a 5% market share of the regional transport sector in Germany.

NETINERA operates mainly in southern and northern Germany with its strongest brands being Metronom Eisenbahngesellschaft and Erixx in the northern region of Germany and Länderbahn, ALEX and Vogtlandbahn in southern Germany.

Metronom and Erixx belong to Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen AG (OHE) – a group that unites 17 subsidiaries and participations with more than 1,500 employees. OHE predominantly operates between Göttingen, Braunschweig, Wolfsburg, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Cuxhaven and Bremerhaven. Metronom is known for being especially innovative in their marketing strategy. To make customers feel more comfortable in their trains, Metronom launched the ‘train of ideas’ project in 2012, which resulted in the redesign of compartments and installing equipment to play music in the on-board lavatories. Also introduced was the option for season-ticket holders to make a reservation for their favourite seat free-of-charge.

In Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, Regentalbahn AG operates under the brand name Länderbahn, the network of which runs from Lindau, Oberstorf, Munich, Praha, Gera up to Dresden and Görlitz. From 2014 onwards, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Hesse will be added to the Länderbahn network. Currently, Länderbahn has approximately 600 employees.

NETINERA also holds 50% of the shares of Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn Gesellschaft (ODEG) which operates in Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Saxony.

But NETINERA aims to grow. More than 250 million train kilometers are currently tendered or will be tendered over the coming years in the regional rail transport sector (SPNV).

In recent years, NETINERA has tendered successfully in east Bavaria, southwest Germany, southeast Lower Saxony and east Saxony. These new traffic routes start operating at the end of this 2014, and they will add 17.35 million train kilometers to NETINERA’s portfolio.

In southeast Lower Saxony, the Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen AG won the tender with its brand, Erixx. The traffic consists of 2.95 million train kilometers and runs for a duration of 15 years with Alstom LINT trains. Länderbahn won tenders in southeast and southwest Germany with the rail companies Regentalbahn and Vogtlandbahn. The east Saxony network will belong to Vogtlandbahn for four years and runs over 3 million train kilometers. The regional trains in east Bavaria (Waldbahn, Oberpfalzbahn and Naabtalbahn) will increase their routes by 2024; they will add 4.7 million train kilometers to the portfolio and will be operated with 24 Regio-Shuttle (RS1) and 12 new Pesa Link trains. Länderbahn additionally won the ‘Dieselnetz Südwest’ tender and will be the most ambitious start of a new traffic route.

NETINERA is proud to introduce a refreshed design of Alstom LINT trains. Together with the public transport authorities and interior designers, NETINERA redesigned the interior of their LINT trains with a new colour scheme for the passenger compartments plus new seat and table materials. LED lighting has also been installed to give the compartments a smoother look. Operations will start on 14 December 2014. This traffic will cover 6.1 million train kilometers with 10 railway sections in Rhineland-Palatine, Saarland and Hesse. Some trains will also cross the border to France during weekend holiday traffic. In December 2016, the traffic will be extended by another 0.6 million train kilometers.

Apart from their railway business, NETINERA also owns four bus companies, 13 different workshop sites, three harbours and one forwarding agency. The NETINERA bus companies operate 28 million bus kilometres per year. They are all leading bus companies in their regional areas. Autobus Sippel GmbH operates predominantly in the Rhine-Main area. Verkehrsbetriebe Bils GmbH offers its public bus services in North Rhine-Westphalia. Neißeverkehr GmbH and Südbrandenburger Nahverkehrs GmbH are operating in East Germany, and KVG Stade in northern Germany.

The NETINERA workshops are situated strategically across the regions in which the group operates. The workshops in Neustrelitz, Bleckede, Schwandorf and Celle offer customers a wide spectrum of services with a focus on heavy maintenance. They have special experience and knowledge about overhauling and modernising railway vehicles, plus vehicle components. Their customers include a large number of railway companies all over Europe. The on-site maintenance is provided by workshops which are tailored to the needs of the local operation scheme. Therefore they guarantee a high operational availability and reliability of the fleet by minimising costs. This is important for NETINERA when it comes to tendering. The locations and services of the workshops are a relevant factor for the participation in tenders. With the award of the ‘Dieselnetz Südwest’, NETINERA started the construction of a new workshop in Mainz with a train washing system and modern technical equipment.

NETINERA’s special strengths are its well-known regional brands. It is crucial for the business to have a strong regional commitment, but equally important is the relationship with its strong and experienced parent company, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.

Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane is the third largest railway transport company in Europe with the ambition to grow beyond Italy’s borders. After becoming a joint stock company in 1992, it underwent some re-organisational processes and is now one of the most successful players on the European railway market. With its support, NETINERA will continue their success story. 


Jost Knebel is the Chairman of the Board of Management of NETINERA Deutschland GmbH. He started his career as a Controller with Mercedes-Benz and then moved on to different leadership positions with Deutsche Bahn AG. From 2006 to 2008, Jost was a Board Member of Hamburger Hochbahn AG responsible for the bus and shipping traffic. He has been working for the NETINERA group since 2009, starting as Regional Manager West. He then held the position as Managing Director of different subsidiaries within the company. In July 2012 he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of NETINERA Deutschland GmbH.

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