Arriva train in the north of the Netherlands

Dutch Arriva temporarily switches back to diesel due to high HVO prices

Arriva train in the north of the Netherlands Arriva

Since May this year, many of Arriva’s regional trains in the Netherlands have stopped running on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). According to Arriva, the cost of this more sustainable fuel is currently shooting through the roof. The operator does not want to further pass on the rising costs to train passengers, and therefore switches back to diesel, for now. 

At the end of February, there was mostly praise for Arriva’s big step towards making its train fleet even more sustainable. 68 trains in the north of the Netherlands have since been running on HVO, a fuel that can be extracted from vegetable frying oil waste, among other things. According to Arriva, a CO2 emission reduction of as much as ninety percent can be achieved with HVO.

Arriva told local broadcaster RTV Noord that switching back to polluting diesel is a temporary measure. “It does not concern all trains. The newest WINK trains are still running on the sustainable HVO, the older GTW trains are not”, Arriva spokesperson Tamara Vannuys told the Groningen broadcaster. “We would have liked it to be different, but we do it to spare the passengers”. According to Arriva, the price of a train ticket becomes too high if the costs were to be passed on to the traveller.

Arriva hopes that from next year all trains can run on HVO again. “We are closely monitoring the HVO market. It looks more favourable for the coming year, which means that HVO can possibly then be used again in the GTW trains”, Arriva said. The regional operator says it does not want to deviate from its own stated sustainability ambition to be fully CO2-neutral by 2025.

The introduction of HVO, despite now being partially reversed for the time being, is still seen by Arriva as an interim step towards making the Arriva fleet fully sustainable. Arriva says that while its own contribution to CO2 reduction is temporarily decreasing, behind the scenes they are also “working unabated” on electrification of the fleet and making all of Arriva’s infrastructure and buildings more sustainable.

This article first appeared on Dutch sister publication

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Author: Kenneth Steffers

Kenneth Steffers is journalist for Dutch sister publication

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