THE Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has given Arriva Netherlands permission to start three new train services which will be operated at its own risk.  

The three new service comprise: 

  • a weekly night service between Groningen and Amsterdam Schiphol airport 
  • a weekly night service between Maastricht and Schiphol airport, and 
  • a daily service between Apeldoorn and Amersfoort with a maximum frequency of five trains per day. 

The new train services are an initiative by Arriva and will be the first open-access passenger services to operate in the Netherlands. Up to now, Netherlands Railways (NS) has the exclusive right to operate train services on the core network based on a 10-year concession granted by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure which runs from 2015 to 2024.  

Arriva has been allowed to launch its train services as a result of the introduction of the Fourth Railway Package, which came into force in January 2021, and allows operation of open-access passenger services which do not have a serious impact on trains operating under the PSO contract.  

ACM has investigated the possible impact of the new Arriva trains on NS passenger volumes and train operations and concluded that the effect is very small: only 0.03% of NS services will be affected. ACM points out it is the first time it has conducted such an investigation.  

The outgoing Dutch government has already directly granted a new 15-year concession to NS which will come into force at the end of 2024. Starting in 2025, direct award contracts will no longer be allowed.