[NL] Arriva to operate ‘northern lines’ contract for another 15 years; new FLIRT trains ordered

DB Arriva will operate the regional rail services in northern Netherlands for a another 15 years. The DB subsidiary for passenger transport abroad has won the open competition tender for Groningen and Friesland. The new contract has a volume of 1.6 billion euro and will include cross-border traffic to Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) in Germany. The 51 diesel-GTW trains now in operation will be modernized, 18 new hybrid FLIRT trains will be added to the fleet.

DB Arriva has been operating the “Northern Lines” since 2005, and is currently moving around 11.7 million passengers annually. The new contract runs from 2020 to 2035. The “Northern Lines” refer to the regional rail services around the provincial cities of Groningen (Groningen) and Leeuwarden (Friesland). This also includes connections from Groningen to Leer in Germany.

Key technical innovations:

  • Seat availability indicators (app and on the outside of the train)
  • app to find replacement buses when trains can not run
  • shared bike system on every station
  • two ‘silence’ areas in every train

New services as of 2020:

  • Extra Groningen – Leeuwarden express services on Saturday and Sunday afternoon / evening
  • Extra night train Groningen-Leeuwarden in the night of thursday on friday and friday on saturday
  • Every half hour from Groningen – Eemshaven between 6.00 and 20.00
  • Extra services Sneek – Stavoren during rush hours
  • Friday and Saturday a late: Sneek – Stavoren and Stavoren – Leeuwarden

GTW trains to be modernized, will be hybrid
As part of the new contract, the existing train fleet of 51 diesel-GTW trains, delivered since 2006 by Stadler Rail, will be completely renovated. We see images of GTW trains with a new Arriva logo and the red/creme color scheme will be replaced by green tones and white. The diesel trains will get ‘advanced battery packs’, so all trains will become hybrid. Big advantage will be that the GTWs will produce no have (low frequency) noise emissions and vibrations by resonance on stationary trains at endpoints.

Arriva GTW in the current red/creme color scheme. These trains will be refurbished and get new battery packs. Photo: Deutsche Bahn

The current fleet used by DB Arriva in Groningen and Friesland:

  • 2006: 16x GTW 2/6 no. 10228-10243
  • 2006: 27x GTW 2/8 no. 10301-10327
  • 8 trains are equipped for Germany
  • 2009-2010: 8 extra trains delivered:
  • + 6x GTW 2/6 no. 10244, 10247-10251
  • + 2x GTW 2/8 no. 10345, 10346
  • 2014: 10234, 10247-10251 got an extra car, renumbered as 103xx
  • 2016: 10235 and 10236 got an extra car, renumbered as 103xx
  • The have been branded by Arriva as ‘Spurt’ trains
DB Arriva northern lines refurbished GTW. Impression: Deutsche Bahn

New FLIRT trains to be ordered
Most interesting are the new trains that Stadler Rail will deliver for the new contract. DB Arriva says they will be ’18 particularly environmentally friendly vehicles’. DB Arriva calls them ‘Flirtino’s’. When introduced they will run using very clean biodiesel. And in the long term ‘a complete conversion to emission-free electrical operation is planned’. More details are not published yet.

DB Arriva calls them ‘Flirtino’s’. The new FLIRT trains to arrive in 2020. Impression: Deutsche Bahn

During the press conference about the new contract a video was shown: