NOORDNED has been awarded a new 15-year contract to operate regional services in the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen from December 11.

The agreement includes a commitment to introduce up to 50 new DMUs which will have level access from the platforms by September 2007. These will be fully air-conditioned and feature real-time passenger information screens and on-board CCTV.

A cross-border service to Groningen from Leer in Germany will be introduced in November 2006, with holiday services continuing through to Harlingen Haven. Arriva is to develop a mobile platform, which could be used to test the market for new stations and to serve temporary events.

A subsidiary of international transport operator Arriva, NoordNed has operated services in Friesland since 1999 and in Groningen since 2000. The company anticipates a turnover of €34m in the first year, and total turnover of €750m throughout the life of the franchise.