On Thursday 9 June 2016, Abellio Germany presented the first FLIRT3 trains for the Niederrhein Network. The new electric trains, manufactured by Stadler, will be operating on the new routes RE 19 and RB as of December 2016. Pending required approval, the vehicles will then also travel cross border from Emmerich (Germany) to Arnhem (Netherlands) via Zevenaar.
Speaking at the presentation of the new vehicles, Ronald R.F. Lünser, Managing Director Abellio North Rhine Westphalia, said: "The new, ultra-modern FLIRT verhicles are soon ready for use and combine a cutting-edge technology and added convenience for our passengers in the region. The presentation and delivery of the train is an important milestone for us on the way to a successful start of operation. The good cooperation with Stadler and PTA VRR in recent months has shown that we have developed from a customer-supplier relationship into a solution-oriented partnership. Given the complexity of the new vehicles, this is a necessity for a successful project. The next important step is the operational approval of the vehicles both on the German and Dutch network."
Martin Husmann, Managing Director of VRR, then commented: "If Abellio takes over Niederrhein Network with the FLIRT3 vehicles the passengers will experience a significant increase in comfort; all vehicles are air conditioned and stepless entry areas enable quick entry and exit of passengers. Moreover, the future route will function as an important connection to the Rhein-Ruhr-Express. This enables a fast track into the metropolitan areas of the Rhine and Ruhr for German and Dutch passengers."
"It is our great pleasure to present the new FLIRT vehicles. In total, 21 new vehicles were ordered, including seven especially designed for cross-border transport," said Christop Haessig, Director of Stadler Germany. "Every order we receive has unique and individual challenges that we take on with great commitment. We look back on a successful cooperation with the project team of Abellio and VRR – only when working together is it possible to meet deadlines and realise a timely delivery."
FLIRT stands for 'Fast Light Innovative Regional Trainset'. The bright, inviting passenger area is barrier-free and air conditioned. There is also space for bicycles, luggage and strollers. The vehicles are equipped with two toilets, accessible to all passengers.
Ronald Lünser is certain Abellio is well prepared for the operation of the new network: "We are delighted that we will soon be able to offer cross-border traffic in the Netherlands for the first time and consequently greatly enhance the transport service for passengers from both countries."
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.