Belgians ready to re-open the Iron Rhine

21st February 2006, Comments 0 comments

21 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — Belgian rail manager Infrabel is ready to resume a limited number of goods transports on the Iron Rhine, the disused train line that runs through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

21 February 2006

AMSTERDAM — Belgian rail manager Infrabel is ready to resume a limited number of goods transports on the Iron Rhine, the disused train line that runs through Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

"We've done our homework," a spokesperson for Infrabel said on Tuesday. "Our budget and plan is ready, but a commencement date depends on the political discussions between the ministers of the countries involved."

Infrabel hopes to run 15 trains a day on the line from the port of Antwerp to the Ruhr in Germany. The connection is appealing to haulage companies as it is shorter and quicker than other routes.

The problem is that the Iron Rhine is controversial in the Netherlands as it runs through a nature area.

Belgium was given the right to construct a road or canal on Dutch territory to the Prussian border as part of the Treaty of London in 1839 that formally recognised Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. 

The right was further established in the Iron Rhine Treaty of 1873. Belgium initially planned to dig a canal, but in the end it opted for a railway.

The first trains ran six years late. The line was busy for several years but the traffic decreased over time. Goods transports on the line from Roermond and the Ruhr halted in 1991.

The Belgium government asked for the re-opening for train line in 2004 due to an increase in goods transports from Antwerp to the Ruhr.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Belgian news + Dutch news

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