ARRIVA has applied to operate domestic overnight open-access services in the Netherlands from December 2022.

Two routes are planned to serve Schiphol Airport with night-time links from Groningen and Maastricht, connecting with early-morning flight departures.

From Maastricht, the train will depart at 0100, arriving at the airport just before 0330. The return leaves at 0530, arriving at around 0745.

On the Groningen route, the train leaves just after 0200, arriving at the airport at 0400, with the return departing at 0500.

Initially Arriva wants to run the night trains once a week on a Friday night, and once this has been proven it plans to introduce more routes.

In addition to the night trains, Arriva has applied to continue directly to Amersfoort from the regional concessions Zutphen-Apeldoorn during off-peak hours. This would offer an extra direct connection from the regional railway.

Arriva believes these open access routes could take cars off the road, thus reducing pollution.

“This is a commercially smart way to bring benefits to passengers, connect the rural provinces with the urbanised western part of the country and allow our business to grow by making better use of our existing fleet of trains,” said Mr Anne Hettinga, director of Arriva Netherlands and Arriva management board member.

These would be the first domestic open-access services in the Netherlands and Arriva’s first outside Britain. Under the plans, Arriva would carry all the associated costs and risks with the services, with no government concession.

The application has been made to the Authority of Consumers and Markets (ACM).

Domestic open-access became possible earlier this year following the implementation of the European Union (EU) Fourth Railway Package and regulatory reform.