NS, KLM demand damages over HSL line
15 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail operator NS and airline KLM are demanding millions of euros in compensation from the Dutch State because travel times on the Amsterdam-Brussels HSL high-speed train line will be eight minutes longer than initially agreed.
15 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail operator NS and airline KLM are demanding millions of euros in compensation from the Dutch State because travel times on the Amsterdam-Brussels HSL high-speed train line will be eight minutes longer than initially agreed.
The NS and KLM are jointly involved in the rail company HSA, which will operate high-speed train journeys several times per day from 2007 on the new HSL route, RTL News reported on Tuesday.
The HSL line will stop in Breda and The Hague in a compromise reached with Belgium in exchange for a Dutch Cabinet decision to deepen the Westerschelde inlet. The latter project is of deep importance to the port of Antwerp.
But the agreement reached between the Netherlands and Belgium on Friday will also result in eight minutes being added to the train journey. This could lead to fewer travellers and higher personnel and equipment costs for HSA.
The costs could amount to millions of euros each year. HSA will pay the Dutch government EUR 148 million per year to use the rail line and is demanding a significant reduction on that figure.
Travel time on the HSL line was to initially take one hour and 33 minutes. But the Belgian government unexpectedly decided against building a new railway line between Antwerp and Brussels, adding 15 minutes onto the journey.
Transport Minister Karla Peijs then met with Belgian Public Enterprise Minister Johan Vande Lanotte and reduced the delay to eight minutes by adjusting the timetabling.
But both the NS and KLM remain unimpressed and will demand damages which could amount to millions of euros. HSA will now negotiate the matter with the Transport Ministry in coming weeks.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news