FlixBus’s expansion in the Netherlands has been fast but not furious – the company’s managers have stuck to a tight script of incremental growth and have built a well-established transport service with a presence in all major Dutch cities.
But the company has frequently said it could offer much better services to travelers if the Dutch-German cross-border rail infrastructure were upgraded faster. FlixBus, for instance, could move its popular Amsterdam-Groningen-Hamburg bus route to rail if the link were fully electrified.
“The 8-times daily Amsterdam–Groningen–Bremen–Hamburg route could be a very nice train link,” Arthur Kamminga, who has been working for FlixBus for years, told the Dagblad van het Noorden.
The railway bridge and more
Kamminga says that FlixBus’s sister company FlixTrain has applied for a cross-border Dutch-German service. The new route will offer daily journeys to several cities, including Arnhem, Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. The service is expected to start in December 2024.
A train link between Hamburg and Amsterdam via Groningen seems equally logical to FlixBus but it is not feasible at the moment due to rail infrastructure limitations. Part of the problem is the lack of a bridge across the Ems. In addition, without overhead lines between Groningen and Leer, the track is less attractive as part of a long route.
To Kamminga’s chagrin, the province of Groningen is not keen on the electrification of the line. “The province has embraced hydrogen as the future and focuses on trains that are only suitable for isolated local lines. Without overhead wires, the operation of international routes becomes a lot more expensive. Unfortunately, Groningen does not see this, and the city’s central station, despite all the talk about the coming Lelyline, is not being prepared for the future.”
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