Parliament wants trains to drive more rapidly
Increased speed along with an investment of millions of euros will add minutes of time savings for train travellers on a number of routes
26 October 2006
THE HAGUE - A wide majority in the Parliament wants the train speed to be increased (up to 160 kilometres per hour) on a number of routes in the Netherlands. In the coming years approximately 70 million euros must be invested in safety and security systems, extra track and other railway infrastructure in order to make that possible.
The CDA and the PvdA came Thursday during the budget discussions of the Ministry of Transport and Water with an amendment in which they - in the broad vision - stand behind a plan from the NS Dutch Railways. "By reserving this extra money, rapid improvements to the railway services will be possible." stated Eddy van Hijum of the CDA.
Currently up to 140 kilometres per hour can be driven on the Dutch tracks. Within two years there must be new, faster curves constructed on a number of track routes.
In that period the signals and also the procedure for the entry by trains into stations can be improved. Moreover the safety systems on a number of routes must be adapted. If that all occurs, presently trains will be able to drive at 160 kilometres per hour on the busy lines of Schiphol-Den Haag, Utrecht-Amsterdam, Boxtel-Eindhoven and on the Flevolijn (direction Lelystad).
By the extra investments up to three minutes travel time profit is possible on a considerable number of routes. The Parliament recently still had complaints concerning the new time tables of the Dutch railways, because the travel time increased on a number of routes.
Transport specialist Pieter Hofstra of the VVD is just like the CDA and the PvdA enthusiastic concerning the plan. "In itself we heartily support it, but it must then be made clear that the money is not taken away from the construction of roadways ". Hofstra stated that the fast improvement plan must be able to be financed from the fund of one billion Euros which has been reserved annually for railway administrator ProRail. "They are nevertheless already responsible for the maintenance and the construction of new track."
Sharon Dijksma of the PvdA suggested prior to the debate that the remaining money from the fund unforeseen (emergency funds) for the Betuwe route, could be used if the budget of ProRail and NS be would not be sufficient. Van Hijum also thinks this way. "On the 1st of January construction of the Betuwe line starts and according to me there is still 100 million euros in the fund for unforeseen. That money can be used to realise this new plan."
Also GroenLinks Member of Parliament Wijnand Duyvendak also agreed strongly for a substantial financial injection for faster trains. But that money, as far as he is concerned, must come from the fund for the construction of peak-hour lanes.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news