ARRIVA Netherlands has issued a tender for four hydrogen trains, with an option for two more, for operation on regional lines in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands. The contract will also include maintenance of the trains until 2035, with an option to extend this period.

Arriva has a concession to operate regional services in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland, which came into effect in December 2020. The contract includes the objective of operating zero-emission rolling stock by 2035, focused on hydrogen propulsion. The province of Groningen is a strong believer in hydrogen: it participates in a North Sea wind farm and wants to establish a hydrogen generation plant in the province.

Arriva Netherlands wants to gain experience with hydrogen train operation and if this proves positive, it hopes that the regional public transport authority will require replacement of diesel traction by hydrogen traction in the next concession which would start in 2035. An order for 51 trains would be required to replace the current fleet.

For now, the new hydrogen trains will operate as part of the regular timetable and will also provide extra fleet capacity when regular passenger services are reintroduced between Veendam and Stadskanaal with a direct connection to Groningen. At present, this line is only used by the Star railway preservation society.

The tender process will be based on direct negotiation with bidders. Bids will be assessed according to the following weighting:

• Price: 70

• Number of seats: 10

• Delivery date: 10

• Distance to maintenance workshop: 10

The closing date for bids is January 20 2023. Bids must remain valid for at least four months after submission.

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