Areva will be allowed to operate night trains from Groningen via Assen to Schiphol and back from 2023. This has been set by the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM). So Areva is allowed to drive on the main rail network for the first time, with NS alone in control. This makes the carrier a competitor to NS.
There will be an overnight train from Groningen to Schiphol from Friday to Saturday, with at least a stop in Assen.
For the first time on the major railway network
So far, Arriva only operates regional train services such as Emmen – Zwolle. The main rail network has always been licensed to the NS by the Cabinet. However, other carriers such as Arriva may also apply to operate on the main rail network, if this does not cause appreciable damage to the profits made by NS. The ACM has now determined that the night train has no effect on the NS portfolio.
The train that Areva wants to run from Groningen to Schiphol will leave shortly before 2 am. It stops at stations Assen, Zwolle, Lelystad, Almere and Amsterdam-Zuid and arrives at Schiphol at 4 am. Just after five in the morning, the train departs from Schiphol again to take the first passengers north. On the way there is a stop back in Assen.
Areva also gets permission for a weekly night train in Maastricht – Schiphol. In addition to the night trains, the Arriva is also allowed to run between Apeldoorn and Amersfoort five times a day. With the three new services, the regional carrier hopes to undermine the NS monopoly.
“With this we are strengthening the Dutch public transport network and encouraging more travelers to choose this sustainable way of travel,” said Anne Hettinga, CEO of Arriva. “If the night trains succeed, more tracks and journeys may be followed.”
Areva has to buy new trains for new connections. But given the previous good experiences between train builder Stadler and Arriva, where “standard” types of trains are perfectly adapted from the factory to the wishes of Arriva or its customers (eg Drenthe County), this probably should not be a problem. The hurdle in allocating capacity on the Dutch track is likely to be even greater. But the space has to be there because NS rarely runs the times when Arriva wants to run.
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