Rail companies call for €21bn investment to cut journey times, boost services

Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

State owned railway companies NS (passenger services) and ProRail (infrastructure) want the government to invest nearly €21bn in the railways over the next 20 years.

The money, officials say, should come from a special infrastructure fund which the government plans to set up next year.

The plans, published in Wednesday’s AD, include speeding up journey times from Leeuwarden and Groningen to Amsterdam and the other three big cities, and from Twente, Nijmegen and Vlissingen westwards.

There should be more services between Amsterdam and Eindhoven and important stations, such as Amersfoort, Leiden, Nijmegen and Roermond should be given billion euro overhauls.

The plans also envisage a light rail network between Rotterdam and Dordrecht and an extension of Amsterdam’s metro network to Schiphol airport.

The investments will make train travel more attractive, encouraging people to ditch the car and use public transport instead, ProRail board member Hans van Leeuwen told the paper.

‘Keep travelling at 130 kph, but do it on the tracks instead,’ Van Leeuwen said, referring to plans to cut the speed limit on all roads because of pollution.

The NS carried nearly 37 million passengers in September, making the month its busiest ever. The number of people using the train on a daily basis has now hit 1.3 million and that total is forecast to double by 2040.

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