NETHERLANDS: The provinces of Groningen and Friesland named incumbent Arriva as the winner of the next contract to operate their regional passenger rail services on July 11. The contract will run for 15 years from December 13 2020 and is worth €1·6bn.

The contract covers fast and stopping services on the Leeuwarden – Groningen Europapark route, and stopping services on the Eemshaven – Roodeschool – Groningen – Winschoten – Leer (Germany), Delfzijl – Groningen – Veendam, Leeuwarden – Sneek – Stavoren and Leeuwarden – Harlingen Haven routes.

The current fleet of fleet of 51 Stadler GTW 2/8 and GTW 2/6 diesel multiple-units is to be refurbished. The trainsets will be fitted with batteries to enable braking energy to be recovered for reuse, reducing emissions and cutting noise when accelerating away from stations. A further 18 new trainsets powered by bio-diesel will be introduced on the Leeuwarden – Groningen Europapark route, increasing capacity and enabling the provision of more frequent weekend and evening services on key sections of the network. Automatic passenger counting systems will be used to enable capacity to be better matched to demand and to provide passengers with real-time information about seat availability. In the long term, the complete conversion to electric operation is planned.

‘To be given the opportunity to continue operating the country’s northern train services for a further 15 years is testament not only to the strength of our bid, but also to the great service we are providing under the current concession to the 32 000 passengers who use the regional transport network every day’, said Arriva Group CEO Manfred Rudhart.