Fast rail connections with Düsseldorf and Aachen have been on the wish list of stakeholders on both sides of the border. The lobby for the connection with The Hague has recently intensified, resulting in the first positive signs from Berlin. Mayor of Eindhoven, Van Gijzel, has the directors of the provinces of Limburg and Brabant, as well as those of Nordrhein Westfalen on his side in the lobby.
The biggest bottleneck in need of a fast rail connection between The Hague/Rotterdam (South Randstad)-Eindhoven (Brainport)-Düsseldorf (Ruhr) is the single track between Kaldenkirchen and Dülken on the German side.
After several visits to Berlin, Transport Executive Patrick van den Broek from the province of Limburg is convinced that the German Transport Minister, Alexander Dobrindt, wants to see the track doubled. That’s important, given that the Ministry is responsible for the project through the new Bundesverkehrswegeplan (Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan), or BVWP.
This new BVWP must be finished by the end of 2015. The Ministry is also deciding how the project will be financed.
Transport Executive Patrick van den Broek believes that this coalition period is completely committed to cross-border rail links. His spokesperson: “Good cross-border rail links are important for an excellent social and business climate. Everyone is in agreement on that, even on the German side. Van der Broeck has visited Berlin twice in the last 3 months to talk about rail connections.”
The Randstad-Flanders-Ruhr Triangle
Over the summer, Limburg received European funding for research into new intercity connections between Düsseldorf-Venlo-Eindhoven and Keulen-Aachen-Heerlen-Eindhoven, as well as rail connections between Brussel-Leuven-Liège-Maastricht and Antwerp-Hamont-Weert. Van den Broeck’s spokesperson: “Improving these four rail connections is essential for the development of the Randstad-Flanders-Ruhr Triangle into the largest economic region in this part of Europe.” The research will cost a total of 9.7 million Euros, half of which will be paid by Brussels. The research itself is yet to begin.
Both the German and Dutch sides are now working on improving cooperation in infrastructure, security systems, social security, timetabling, the way in which train tickets will be sold and the required train equipment.