Rhein-Ruhr-Express: Future operators sign contract

National Express and Abellio, the future operators of the Rhein-Ruhr-Express (RRX), today signed the relevant contract in the presence of Michael Groschek, Minister for Building, Housing, Urban Development, and Transport of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Starting from December 2018, the RRX will considerably increase quality in regional rail passenger transport with shorter cycle times, Wi-Fi, and higher comfort. Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek advised the special purpose associations on the project from the beginning. The law firm designed, drafted, and negotiated the award procedure for all three parts of the project – trains, financing, and operation – with the regional authorities.

“The RRX represents a quantum leap in suburban transport. It is not only a premium product with short cycle times, Wi-Fi, and train attendants, but also uses much less energy than today's RE trains. This was achieved by the new tendering concept that evaluates not only production and personnel cost, but also energy consumption across 30 years,“ said Dr. Ute Jasper, public procurement law expert and partner at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek.

The contract award is based on the “NRW-RRX model“ realized together by the transport associations Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR), Zweckverband Nahverkehr Rheinland (NVR), Zweckverband Nahverkehr Westfalen-Lippe (NWL), Zweckverband Schienenpersonennahverkehr Rheinland-Pfalz Nord (SPNV-Nord), and Nordhessische Verkehrsverbund (NVV), led by the VRR. In this procedure, the invitations for bid for operating the lines were separated from those for manufacturing, supply, and maintenance. It was designed to allow the later realization of the RRX target system after completing the infrastructure. At 15 million train kilometers, the Rhein-Ruhr Express is Germany's most important regional rail transport project. The orders for vehicles and operation amount to some 4 billion euros.

The team led by Dr. Ute Jasper includes Dr. Christopher Marx (Contracts), Dr. Laurence Westen (Public Procurement Law), Dr. Stefan Proske (Insolvency Law), Dr. Stefan Jöster (Insurance), and Dr. Thorsten Kuthe (Banking Law), who are working on the RRX project.

Dr. Ute Jasper is one of the best-known lawyers for public procurement and public infrastructure projects. She advises federal and state ministries, municipalities, and companies. Ute Jasper heads Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek's "Public Sector & Public Procurement" department. For years, she has been ranked number 1 in JUVE Handbook of Commercial Law Firms, currently in its 2014/2015 edition, and according to "Law Firms in Germany" is the "premier contact on the market" for infrastructure.

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