Pan-European passenger transport company Arriva has won a €1.6bn contract from the Dutch provinces of Groningen and Leeuwarden, Friesland, to operate the regional rail transport in the north of the Netherlands for another 15 years.

The deal includes cross-border transport linking the provinces of Groningen and Fryslân with Lower Saxony.

The contract will see Arriva continue to operate the Northern Lines, which refers to the regional rail services operating around Groningen and Friesland, with a connection from Groningen to Leer in Ostfriesland, Lower Saxony.

Arriva has been the operator of the Northern Lines since 2005, and the new contract will run from 2020 to 2035.

Arriva Group CEO Manfred Rudhart said: "To be given the opportunity to continue operating the country’s northern train services for a further 15 years is testament not only to the strength of our bid, but also to the great service we are providing under the current concession to the 32,000 passengers who use the regional transport network every day.

"Retaining this contact, and winning the Limburg contract in late 2015, demonstrates our commitment to delivering strong performance for our customers in the Netherlands."

"Retaining this contact, and winning the Limburg contract in late 2015, demonstrates our commitment to delivering strong performance for our customers in the Netherlands.”

Arriva will refurbish the current fleet of 51 existing trains and introduce 18 new trains to increase capacity on the network as part of the agreement.

The company noted that it attached significant importance to delivering a more sustainable, environmentally friendly transport network in its bid.

The deal will see the existing fleet converted to energy-saving, low-emission hybrid trains, while the 18 new locomotives are set to be powered by biodiesel.