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Arriva Netherlands has applied for rights to operate open access night trains linking Maastricht and Groningen to the Randstad region and Schiphol airport, challenging the current NS monopoly of the core national network.
The DB subsidiary lodged an application with the competition authority Autoriteit Consument & Markt on May 31 seeking rights to run open three access services on the core network, explaining that it was looking to run its trains at times when NS does not currently provide services. Arriva is initially looking to launch one night train per week to Schiphol on each route from December, connecting with early morning flight departures, as well as running extra daytime services in the Amersfoort region.
Domestic open access became possible from the start of this year, following the implementation of the EU’s Fourth Railway Package. Arriva says that ‘if approved, this could become the first domestic Open Access service in the Netherlands and Arriva’s first market outside of the UK to apply for domestic open access operations. This operating model means the train operator carries all the associated costs and risks with the services, without any government concession.’
While EU railway policy is intended to encourage open access, regulators are able to block applications that might impact on the economics of services that are supported under a public service obligation contract. If its initial application is approved by ACM, Arriva would then apply to ProRail for the relevant paths.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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