NETHERLANDS: Arriva has signed a €170m contract for Stadler to supply 18 Flirtino multiple units which will be able to use overhead electrification or hydrotreated vegetable oil fuel. They will also have onboard batteries to store regenerated braking energy.

Produced from vegetable fats and oils, HVO is intended to be cleaner burning, have a longer storage life and be suitable for use at lower temperatures than other forms of biodiesel.

The Flirtino units are to be deployed on regional services in Groningen and Friesland which incumbent Arriva is to continue to operate for the two provinces under a contract running for 15 years from December 13 2020.

The Flirtino units will be designed so that the HVO equipment can be replaced with larger batteries as and when the planned partial electrification of the routes is completed. The batteries would be recharged when the units were operating on electrified sections of the network

Announcing the rolling stock contract on November 13, Arriva said partial electrification would offer a cost-effective option for ‘zero emissions operation for lines where it is not possible or the business case cannot be made to deliver full electrification’. This could include routes with numerous bridges.

The first of the Flirtino HVO units is expected to enter service in 2020, and they would be converted to battery power once the partial electrification programme is completed in 2025.

The existing fleet of 51 Stadler GTW 2/8 and GTW 2/6 diesel multiple-units will also be modernised and equipped with battery packs to support regenerative braking.

‘As one of Europe’s largest transport operators, we are proud to be delivering into service world-first Flirtino trains’, said Arriva Group CEO Manfred Rudhart. ‘This is a major step towards creating a future where transport across Europe is cleaner, greener and more sustainable. Our investment in these new green technologies shows our commitment to ensuring that the environment remains top of the transport agenda across our operations in mainland Europe, an area which is an important growth engine for Arriva.’