18 new biodiesel fuelled trains coming to the Netherlands

Arriva has been named as the winner of the next contract to operate regional passenger rail services in Groningen and Friesland, the Netherlands. The move will see 18 new biodiesel trains added to the busy rail network in the area, a precursor to eventually transitioning to an emissions free electrical network.

The new contract will run for 15 years from 13 December 2020, and is worth €1.6billion. Arriva is the incumbent operator in Groningen and Friesland.

“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 in an Arriva press release. 

Arriva’s bid placed significant emphasis on delivering a more sustainable, more environmentally friendly transport network.

The current 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’, according to the Railway Gazette.

18 new train sets added to the Leeuwarden – Groningen Europapark route will all be fuelled by biodiesel, increasing capacity and enabling the provision of more frequent weekend and evening services on key sections of the network. In the long term, a complete conversion to emission-free electrical operation is planned for the fleet of trains.