The improved regional railways in the Netherlands showed a sharp increased patronage. Groningen region is a showcase in this regard that covers all of DRS’ domains and themes. Already very successful, but still many new improvements and projects in progress.


Prime domain(s)
Rail, Mobility, Planning


Prime theme(s)
Governance, Lifecycle efficiency, Urban mobility hubs


Additional theme(s)
Users & Services, Sustainability, Economics, Design & Identity


Related showcases


Lead partner
RVDB Urban Planning /


Second contact
Province of Groningen


Extended summary
Coined by DRS as ‘RegioRail’ the Groningen centred regional network in the north of the Netherlands proved to be very successful. A sharp increase of patronage was recognised since this network became independent from the national network. Regional contracting, improved services, stations and station environments, also improved additional networks and Park and Ride facilities represent a series of success factors. Still many new improvements and projects are in progress, notably the main station project of Groningen city (new second entrance, new platforms and through going tracks, bus station, property development), final construction stage of Europa park station (additional track and platform, property development) and various extensions, including new railyard at the fringe of Groningen town.
This high class regional network of railways is supported by various governance arrangements, like inter-co-operation of provinces, municipalities and a public transport bus authority. Their efforts imply a substantial enhancement of lifecycle efficiency of railways built at the end of the 19th century. Urban and rural mobility hubs boost local economy while design underlines local identity (e.g. the regional trains are named by local celebrities).


Form (description)
Network of railways serving the main centre (city of Groningen) and its region, including additional connections to neighbouring province (Friesland) and cross-border region in Germany.


Operation (usage)
The regional train services are operated by Arriva, assigned by provinces of Groningen and Friesland, in co-operation with neighbouring authority in German cross-border region.


Performance (result)
Sharp increases of patronage on all lines up to 20-40% after the independence of the network and new regional contracts (1999-2005) and new rolling stock (2006-2012).




Overview of existing regional rail services from the city of Groningen, respectively to the following towns: Leeuwarden, Roodeschool, Delftzijl, Veendam, Bad Nieuweschans, Leer/Germany (Wiederline). And complementary regional express bus services (Qliner, e.g. Drachten), ferries (e.g. Terschelling) and urban-regional bus network of Groningen (Q-Link).
The first extension of the regional network was Zuidbroek – Veendam (2011). However, plans for a complementary local-regional tramway were cancelled in 2012.
Overview of projects:
. Regional extensions to Eemshaven (2018) and to Stadskanaal (in preparation).
. New contract for all regional train operations (2020).
. Renewed Groningen main station and environment (2020).
. Additional tracks at various sections, including additional platforms at Europapark station (2020).
. Cross linking of regional rail at Groningen main station, new through services (2019/2020).
. New international connection: Wunderline (2023).
The Wunderline represents borderless connection between the Northern Netherlands and Northern Germany, or in other words: a major international region within Europe. Economical, societal as well as cultural collaboration are key in this context.
Improving the quality of the railway line between the cities of Groningen and Bremen will provide a comfortable, fast as well as international railway connection. This shall bring both regions closer to each other. Thus the Wunderline shall act as a major incentive for cross-border collaboration, development and exchange.
(Source: Province of Groningen)


None yet.


. Merwedelingelijn, Dordrecht – Geldermalsen (Netherlands)
. Euregiobahn, Aachen urban region (Germany)


Foreign potentials
Regional urban and rural railways worldwide.


Related projects and pilots
. Borders Railway (Scotland), operated by Abellio.
. Route S7, Wuppertal – Solingen (Germany), operated by Abellio.
. Proposal (Strukton) regional railway Paramaribo-Onverwacht (Suriname).




Other media


Image credits
Arriva, OpenStreetMap, Province of Groningen, ProRail, RVDB Urban Planning /, Wikiovinnederland.


RegioRail Groningen