The rail transporter Qbuzz has asked the Dutch competition authority for permission to run seven daily services between Amsterdam, Paris and Berlin from 2027. The start-up is the latest to throw its hat into the ring to join a shakeup of the international rail market in the Netherlands

Qbuzz asks permission to launch train services to Berlin and Paris

Qbuzz, which is best known in the Netherlands for running local buses in and around Utrecht and Groningen, has submitted plans to the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to run three new train connections. The company says it wishes to run seven daily services between Amsterdam and Paris and Amsterdam and Berlin from January 2027. 

“Qbuzz wants to show its ambition and has put in a request for three rail connections,” the company announced in a statement. “This concerns Amsterdam to Eindhoven, Amsterdam to Berlin, and Amsterdam to Paris, which Qbuzz would like to operate starting January 2027.” Qbuzz is a subsidiary of Italy’s state-owned railway holding, Trenitalia, which would give the company a healthy investment of 200 million euros to realise the project. 

Expanding possibilities for international rail travel in the Netherlands

The plans come as part of a flurry of applications submitted to the ACM from other rail operators, meaning new and exciting train routes from the Netherlands to destinations abroad are almost a certainty in the coming years – the only question is who runs them. 

Currently, NS has licence to operate most train services in the Netherlands and internationally, but, facing pressure from the EU regarding to process by which the Netherlands awards transport contracts, Dutch Transport Minister Vivianne Heijnen said earlier this year that she was considering opening the international offer to competition, and asked companies who were interested to submit proposals before June 14. 

Arriva, FlixTrain and NS announce own international rail plans

Alongside Qbuzz, Arriva, which is owned by German state railway company Deutsche Bahn, has announced plans for a daily service between Groningen and Paris, with a journey time of around five hours and planned stops in Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Antwerp and Brussels. 

Last month FlixTrain, a subsidiary of the German-owned long-distance bus company FlixBus, submitted a request to the ACM to launch a service between Germany and the Netherlands by 2024, with the route likely connecting Oberhausen in North Rhine-Westphalia and a number of other German cities with Arnhem, Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam

And earlier this year, the railway start-up European Sleeper also launched night trains to Berlin and announced plans for a new night service to Barcelona

Not to be outdone, NS has now also submitted requests to offer services to London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Innsbruck, DutchNews.nl reports. A decision on who will be awarded the contracts is expected by August this year. 

Image credit: peter jesche / Shutterstock.com

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