Leeuwarden depot in the Netherlands has recently undergone a major transformation, including a multi-functional ‘smart’ track, a secure storage container for batteries, and an expanded store room and office area. Work was undertaken to accommodate the rise in the number of trains being maintained at the facility, which are increasingly reliant on battery power. The depot is home to the 18 WINK and the 50 GTW fleets, both operated by Arriva Nederland.
With the number of trains being maintained at Leeuwarden depot at an all-time high and more of them using batteries, Leeuwarden depot has been completely overhauled. A new ‘smart’ track has been laid and a dedicated container that can hold up to six batteries has been installed. Both the stores and the office area have been made bigger.
To celebrate the completion of the work, as well as the introduction of the WINK trains into passenger service last year, Stadler is hosting an event for key stakeholders, comprising speeches, a tour of the new depot and the opportunity to look around a WINK and GTW train, including a peek in the driver’s cab.
One of the most significant improvements of the upgrade is the installation of a new, so-called ‘smart’ track, where several maintenance tasks can be carried out. Trains can be moved from outside to inside the depot, using a special lifting jack and work can be undertaken on the roof, using a fixed staircase. Inside, the track has space for two trains, heightening productivity and efficiency. This new track means that there are now three tracks at Leeuwarden depot.
Stadler is at the forefront of green technology, and more and more of its trains are manufactured and powered sustainably. As both the WINK and the GTW trains use of battery power, a dedicated secure storage facility has been installed. It can hold up to six batteries, boasting state-of-the-art fire-retardant features to promote safety.
The stores has been enlarged, in line with the higher number or trains and to accommodate the higher amount of spare parts required to ensure that trains can be maintained quickly and efficiently. Similarly, the office space has been expanded, as there are now 40 members of staff, twice as many as there were in 2013, when Stadler assumed responsibility for the depot.
Jouke de Haan, head of Leeuwarden depot, Stadler, commented: “The work to transform our facility reflects the success that we have enjoyed over recent years. We now look after more trains that ever before, and increasingly, they use more sustainable types of traction. Both the WINK and the GTW fleets are powered by battery some of the time, so we’ve embraced this development and undertaken a major upgrade. We now have a facility that’s geared to 21st century fleets or trains, which I’m very proud of.”
Milfred Hart, regional director, Arriva Nederland, added: “We congratulate Stadler on the remodelling of its workshop in Leeuwarden. We are pleased that Stadler is able to continue to perform maintenance for us at a high quality and efficient level.”
The two fleets of trains, both built by Stadler for Arriva Nederland and maintained at Leeuwarden depot, are the 18 new WINK trains and the 50 refitted GTW trains. The new WINK trains are bi-modes, made up of two-car low-floor multiple units. They run on hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO), a biofuel, reducing carbon emissions by 90 per cent. Like the renovated GTW trains, the WINK trains offer high levels of passenger comfort. Arriva Nederland introduced them into passenger service in spring 2021 and they serve the Noordelijke Lijnen concession. In February this year, Stadler, Arriva Nederland and government partners undertook tests on a modified WINK, demonstrating that trains are able to operate solely with batteries on non-electrified lines.
The GTW trains are diesel-electric multiple units, introduced in 2006. Stadler undertook a comprehensive overhaul of the entire fleet between 2020 and 2022, making them more comfortable for passengers and installing recuperation batteries. This allows trains to shut down the diesel engines when they are at a standstill, which cuts carbon emissions.
Blazing a trail in green technology, Stadler is playing a critical role in helping governments around the world achieve net zero targets. It is market leader in the field of alternative drive technologies, and has sold more than 110 FLIRT Akku battery electric multiple units as well as more than another 200 trains and locomotives with traction batteries in ten countries. In tests last year, the FLIRT Akku travelled over 220km in battery-only mode, the longest distance on record and documented in the Guinness World Records book. Stadler is currently building the first hydrogen-powered train ever to run in the US, ordered by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.
Voith Rail Services first opened the facility in 2006. Stadler took over in 2013 with 43 trains and 20 employees. It now looks after 68 trains and has 40 employees. In 2020, Arriva Nederland extended its contract with Stadler to 2035.
Stadler in the Netherlands
Stadler has sold 286 trains to clients in the Netherlands, including Arriva Nederland, QBuzz, Keolis, NS, Abellio and Connexxion. It is responsible for servicing more than 150 trains and has around the same number of employees. Stadler services trains in Leeuwarden, Venlo, Hengelo and has a re-fit location in Blerick. The headquarters are in Apeldoorn.
Stadler has been building trains for over 80 years. The provider of rail vehicle construction solutions has its headquarters in Bussnang in eastern Switzerland. It has a workforce of over 13,000 based in various production and engineering locations as well as more than 70 service locations. The company is conscious of its social responsibility for sustainable mobility and therefore stands for innovative, sustainable and durable quality products. The product range in the field of mainline railways and city transport includes high-speed trains, intercity trains, regional and suburban trains, metros, tramways and trams. Stadler also manufactures main-line locomotives, shunting locomotives and passenger carriages. It is the world’s leading manufacturer in the rack-and-pinion rail vehicle industry.