Transport giant National Express has won a £1.35 billion contract to operate rail services in Germany.
The Digbeth-based group, Birmingham’s biggest private sector employer, has signed a contract to operate two regional services in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
The services, currently run by Deutsche Bahn, carry around 18 million passengers per year and will generate revenues of around £1.35 billion over the 15-year life of the contract.
They will run between Krefeld, Cologne, Bonn, Wuppertal and Münster and will be launched in December 2015.
Dean Finch, chief executive of National Express, said: “I am very pleased we have signed these two rail contracts. As well as confirming our entry into the German rail market, they also demonstrate how our success in running the UK’s best performing rail franchise is opening up new market opportunities.”
The contract win comes after a tough month for Deutsche Bahn after staff shortages created commuter chaos with a wave of cancellations and delays.
National Express cashed in on the liberalisation of the European rail market to win the business.
British Ambassador Simon McDonald said: “This is a proud day for British business. The contract is a vote of confidence from our German partners and a testimony to the strength of British transport companies.”
National Express already operates a coach network in Germany under the City2City brand.