ARRIVA has ordered a fleet of 43 low-floor diesel railcars from Stadler Bussnang to operate a 255 route-km network of secondary lines in the northeastern Netherlands provinces of Friesland and Groningen.

The cars are being bought under the terms of a 15-year operating concession which starts in December 2005. Herrenveen-based Arriva Nederland (formerly NoordNed) already operates the routes from Staveren and Harlingen Haven to Leeuwarden, Groningen, Nieuwe Schans (Leer), Delfzijl and Roodeschool under an existing concession. The routes are largely single track, and limited to 100 km/h, although the principal section from Groningen to Leeuwarden is suitable for 140 km/h.

At present the lines are operated with 16 Class 3100 single-car and 31 Class 3200 two-car DMUs bought by Netherlands Railways in 1981-82, plus four DM90 Class 3400 units dating from 1996. Replacement of the 3100 and 3200 cars was a key condition of the new concession.

After assessing offers from Alstom (Lint), Bombardier (Talent) and Siemens (Desiro), Arriva awarded the SFr220m contract to Stadler. A fleet of 16 GTW 2/6 (2' Bo 2') and 27 longer GTW 2/8 (2' Bo 2' 2') cars will be built in Bussnang.

This will bring the total GTW diesel family to 201 cars; the history of the design was explained in RG 7.04 p431. To date 153 GTW 2/6 cars have been delivered, and a further five are on order for Italy. Of these 158, 13 are 'third-generation' cars with two diesel generator groups and a top speed of 140 km/h. All cars have a width of 3m and an entrance height of 585mm above rail.

The 43 Arriva cars will be 'fourth-generation' GTWs. They will be powered by two MAN diesel engines rated at 390 kW at 1900 rev/min. Each drives an asynchronous generator group from TraktionSysteme Austria which feeds one of the two 300 kW TSA asynchronous motors.

To accommodate the specified 115 and 178 seats and the crashworthy noses required by the Dutch rail safety authority, the car length is being increased by around 3·5m, bringing the GTW 2/6 to 42m over couplings and the GTW 2/8 to 57 m. The standard 3m width will accommodate 2+3 seating, but the floor height will be raised to 830mm to suit the 760 to 840mm range of Dutch platform heights. There will only be a single 170mm step up to the high-floor section through the power unit.

The air-conditioned cars will have a wheelchair-accessible toilet compartment and CCTV security surveillance with four cameras per unit.

The average price of €22000 per m2 is very competitive - this is helped by the GTW 2/8s, which are 15m longer but with no extra power equipment.

Estimated tare weight is 68 tonnes for the GTW 2/6 and 86 tonnes for the longer version, giving average weights of 553 and 512 kg/m2 respectively; this equates to 591 or 483 kg per seat. With a nominal maximum power of 600 kW at the wheel rims, the power rating is 8·8 and 6·8 kW/tonne, which should enable the cars to maintain the present timings at least. However, the central power car is likely to reach an axleload of 20 tonnes when the trains are running fully-loaded.

  • CAPTION: A retractable step at 800mm above rail will bridge the space between car and platform, easing access for wheelchairs and buggies