On Tuesday, the province of Friesland announced its ambition to convert all of its diesel trains to battery power by the year 2025.
Translation by Traci White
The Financieel Dagblad reports that the move is aimed to make all public transportation in the province CO2 neutral within seven years. According to the province, switching to battery-powered trains will be a cheaper alternative than relying on hydrogen or electricity. Omrop Fryslân writes that the province is working together with the Dutch federal government, Arriva, ProRail and the province of Groningen to develop the plans.
Alderperson Johannes Kramer says that Friesland’s plans to utilise battery-powered trains are unique in the Netherlands. Kramer told the Leeuwarder Courant that switching to batteries in the trains in the northern Netherlands will likely cost 177 millions for the wider region and 66 million euros in Friesland.
Fuel and CO2 savings
The transition is meant to save 3.4 million euros in fuel costs and 5.8 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions – roughly the equivalent of 1,100 diesel-powered cars – each year. Arriva trains in the region run on diesel.
According to the Leeuwarder Courant, if the plans are pursued, the trains will be equipped with quick-charging batteries which are charged at the stations at the beginning and end of the lines: Harlingen, Leeuwarden, Sneek and Stavoren. Another alternative – electrifying entire rail lines – was deemed too expensive and would require replacing the entire existing overhead cable infrastructure.
Switching to batteries is not the only innovation that may be coming to train lines in the north in the near future: in September, ProRail expressed an interest in running a pilot with automated passenger trains between Groningen and Leeuwarden as early as next year.