- Abellio celebrates expansion of Lower Rhine network to Arnhem
- Direct service from Arnhem Central and Zevenaar to Düsseldorf Airport
- Commissioning partners VRR and the Province of Gelderland pleased with new cross-border connection
Abellio Rail NRW operated a celebratory train run from Duisburg to Arnhem today to mark the expansion of the RE 19 line in their Lower Rhine network. Many passengers and guests attended as the train departed from Duisburg Hauptbahnhof on the first cross-border run to Arnhem, where the official opening ceremony was held upon arrival. The RE 19 line had initially only run between Düsseldorf and Emmerich since operations began in December 2016 but, as part of the newly expanded Lower Rhine network, will also run to Zevenaar and Arnhem from 6 April. Abellio operates the service commissioned by the Province of Gelderland and Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR).
"Today we celebrate not only a milestone in the history of regional transport in North Rhine-Westphalia and the province of Gelderland, but also a memorable moment for us as Abellio Rail NRW", said Ronald R.F. Lünser, CEO of Abellio Rail NRW, in his welcoming speech to around 80 guests in the special train from Duisburg to Arnhem. "This connection offers our passengers an hourly direct service, i.e. no changes, between the German Rhineland and Ruhr regions and the Netherlands at a VRR rate."
The maiden run took the guests in the new train from Duisburg via Wesel to Arnhem and back again later on. Travelling in one of the new electric FLIRT trains supplied by Stadler, the guests passed the German-Dutch border for the first time at around 12:25. A little later, they were officially welcomed to the destination station, Arnhem Central, by Geert Ritsema, Deputy Mayor of Arnhem, and Conny Bieze, Member of the Executive Council of the Province of Gelderland.
"This connection is a huge step forward towards a better connection between the Netherlands and neighbouring Germany. With a stop in Zevenaar, this expansion will contribute significantly to the economic strengthening of the Liemers and Achterhoek regions. Working across the border is becoming ever easier", Conny Bieze said in her welcoming address to everyone present. The Province of Gelderland and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment are responsible for the annual operation contribution for the Dutch section of the RE 19.
Stephan Krenz, CEO of Abellio Germany, highlighted the excellent cooperation and the significance to the German and Dutch regions concerned: "From 6 April 2017, we will shape the European concept, together, by connecting neighbouring regions across borders. The RE 19 line has brought North Rhine-Westphalia and Gelderland a lot closer together and Abellio is the connecting link. It is also an excellent example of practical collaboration between our parent company Netherlands Railways and Abellio Germany."
175 years of experience has embedded in Abellio a social duty to passengers which extends beyond the journey on one of our trains, trams or buses. The passenger is at the heart of everything we do. The delivery of safe, reliable and comfortable services is the starting point for every transport provider, but that is not enough for Abellio. Our services must play an integrated role in the socio-economic development of the societies we serve.