'Further privatisation of rail network feasible'
Rail network operator ProRail has published an analysis which shows that it is logistically feasible to have other parties besides NS National Railways operate passenger rail services on the major Dutch railway lines.
ProRail’s analysis comes in response to detailed plans for a further subdivision of the railway network drawn up by the Federatie Mobiliteitsbedrijven Nederland FMN, which includes transport companies Arriva, Connexxion, Syntus and Veolia Transport. FMN asked ProRail to investigate whether its plans were technically feasible. Arriva, Syntus and Veolia Transport currently operate regional passenger rail services in the south-east, east and north of the country.
In its analysis, ProRail makes no statement on the desirability of further privatisation of the rail network. A spokesperson said on Thursday that that was “the responsibility of the minister.” The analysis also does not comment on whether further privatisation would affect travel times, the environment or safety.
ProRail’s analysis is based on the current state of the rail network. It argues that minor infrastructural changes would be necessary, such as a larger number of platforms. Another issue requiring further study would be timetables.
Transport Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen is currently working on a paper outlining the future of the rail network, including whether other companies besides NS will be allowed to operate passenger rail services on the main lines of the network. The concession for the main railway network is currently held by NS, but a new concession period starts in 2015.
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