So the futuristic €1bn light rail project – which is supposed to link up Rotterdam, The Hague and Zoetermeer – has become the latest entry in the catalogue of major infrastructure disasters.
Like so many projects before it (the high-speed train link, the Betuwe railway) RandstadRail is not quite proceeding according to plan. Despite all the investment, the special RandstadRail trains keep coming off the tracks. The one line which opened was shut down after four derailments, the opening of a second line has now been delayed.
But there is not one word about why on the RandstadRail website. The press release simply states that it wants to prevent passengers getting the feeling that RandstadRail is unsafe. A bit late for that.
Last week the Volkskrant revealed that the people running the project – a group of nine local authorities known as Stadsgewest Haaglanden – had not bothered to tell transport ministry officials about problems with the switching systems. They said it was not necessary. Despite running a trial service with empty trains for just three days, officials decided the service was safe. It patently wasn’t.
We are talking about a prestigious €1bn project designed to carry tens of thousands of passengers a day, not a new swing in a children’s playground. Their arrogance is breathtaking.