MPs support cheaper northern rail link
8 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Labour PvdA and Liberal VVD have changed course and are now in backing a cheaper version of a much-discussed fast rail connection from Amsterdam to the north of the country.
8 June 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Labour PvdA and Liberal VVD have changed course and are now in backing a cheaper version of a much-discussed fast rail connection from Amsterdam to the north of the country.
Previously, the Dutch Parliament had discussed the construction of the Southern Sea Line (ZZL) using a high-speed rail link or a magnetic levitation train. The Cabinet was prepared to allocate EUR 2.73 billion to the project.
However, VVD MP Pieter Hofstra said a cheaper version could be ready by 2012 or 2013. He proposed building a rail link between Lelystad and Zwolle — for which plans already exist — where speeds of up to 200kmh could be reached.
The line would be called the Hanzelijn, which would run from Lelystad to Dronten to Kampen and onto the existing rail junction at Zwolle.
The 200kmh train between Paris and Amsterdam should then travel twice per day through to Groningen and Leeuwarden. Public transport between Groningen and Assen would also be improved, including the expansion of the existing rail network, PvdA MP Sharon Dijksma said.
Hofstra said the plans would prove EUR 700 million cheaper than a high-speed or magnetic rail link.
Both the VVD and PvdA unveiled their proposal to ensure a rail link would be created given the fact budgetary concerns have placed the more ambitious projects in doubt. A parliamentary majority is now in favour of the cheaper version.
Groningen Queen's Commissioner Hans Alders was highly annoyed by Dijksma and Hofstra, claiming the MPs had not consulted with the north about their plans.
He cast doubt whether the north will come forward with its promised EUR 1 billion contribution to the ZZL if the cheaper and slower rail link is created. The north is demanding a high-speed rail link.
Alders also said the cheaper version has the most limited impact on employment and economic growth in the north of the country. He said spending the money on other things breaches agreements.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news