Arriva has submitted an application to run the company’s first international open-access train service between Groningen, the Netherlands and Paris, France. 

The daily five-hour journey would also go through the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels and is seen as an opportunity for the company to compete with air travel connections in Western Europe. 

CEO Mike Cooper highlighted the role of international rail travel in encouraging sustainable travel options as it is the most climate-friendly form of motorised public transport: “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. 

“This type of innovative thinking is good for the competition which in turn benefits passengers.”

The application for the cross-border service was submitted to the Netherlands Consumers and Markets Authority by Arriva Netherlands, which is also expecting to look for permission for similar services to parts of Belgium and France in the future. 

If approved, the international services will run daily from June 2026 with an outbound and return route, alongside a connection serving the route just between Amsterdam and Paris. 

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By GlobalData

As part of the company’s plan to integrate into the wider transport network, the service would also stop at Schipol Airport near Amsterdam to encourage plane-to-train connections. 

Arriva has seen a noticeable expansion of its European offerings in recent months, including contracts in mid-north Poland and the Pilsen region in Czechia. The company is also increasing its presence in the Netherlands with a €300m contract for bus and rail services in the east of the country. 

The company has also already launched its first open access route, meaning a service that is not part of any franchise agreement, outside of the UK with the beginning of its Groningen to Schipol Airport service in December of last year.