- Trains to operate between Netherlands and France, via Belgium
- If successful, services will start from summer 2026
- New service could compete with air travel between major European cities
Arriva Netherlands has today submitted an application to its Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM) to start operating its first ‘Open Access’ international train service between the cities of Groningen in the North of the Netherlands and Paris, France.
The proposed service would connect Groningen with Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels and Paris through a new, privately operated, Open Access train route, responding to increasing demand for more sustainable transport options in Europe and meeting the objective of the European Commission to create more train connections across European borders.
Arriva intends to run the daily service from June 2026 with a total journey time of just over five hours. If the application is approved, there will be an outbound and a return schedule, with a third daily connection linking just Amsterdam and Paris in the middle of the day. The plan will see rail connections between the major capital cities of Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris, as well as a stop at Schiphol Airport which could encourage plane to train connections.
Mike Cooper, Arriva Group CEO, commented: “International rail has an important role to play in supporting the sustainability agenda by encouraging people away from aviation for shorter distance inter-city connections. This type of innovative thinking is good for competition which in turn benefits passengers. By using our experience across European markets to grow the potential of rail networks, we have a real opportunity to facilitate changing travel patterns and encourage more sustainable choices”.
With this application, Arriva draws on its experience operating Open Access night trains between Groningen and Schiphol Airport, launched in December 2022. This was Arriva’s first Open Access route outside the UK, where it already serves passengers under its Grand Central train operating company. The Open Access operating model means the train operator carries all the associated costs and risks with the services, without any government concession or subsidy.
In future, Arriva Netherlands expects to submit other applications from different Dutch regions to parts of Belgium and France.