An empty goods train became the first to use the long-awaited freight-only Betuwelijn railway on Monday morning.
The train left the Zwijndrecht freight depot one hour later than planned because of technical problems, ANP reported. The train is heading to Hungary to pick up a consignment of grain.
Queen Beatrix officially opened the 160 km railway, which runs from Rotterdam to the border close to Germany’s Ruhr industrial area on Saturday.
Monday’s train had a police helicopter escort and travelled at less than 40km per hour as a security precaution. The track had been occupied on the weekend by GroenFront activists.
By the end of this year, 50 trains a week will be using the route, rising to 150 a day in five years, says management company Keyrail. The Betuwelijn railway has cost at least €4.6bn to build.
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