Under the name EurekaRail, AT Osborne and its consortium partner Railinfra Solutions are carrying out an exploratory study on behalf of the Ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment and the Provinces of Limburg and Brabant, on improving rail connections between Eindhoven, Venlo and Düsseldorf and between Eindhoven, Heerlen, Aachen and Cologne.
Our principals’ ambition is ultimately to provide intercity connections on these lines. But before new connections can be created, a feasibility study must first be carried out. So a decision can be taken in the spring of 2017 about intercity connections between the Netherlands and Germany, the ministry and provinces first need, among other things, to be fully informed about:
- the capacity bottlenecks in the infrastructure;
- the investment costs for the necessary infrastructural measures;
- the expected passenger numbers;
- the business cases (operations); and
- the public costs and benefits.
During the study, we have been working on collecting the necessary information for our principals to take decisions. The international nature of this task makes far more complex than a regular Dutch rail project, as you are dealing with different laws and regulations, different organisations, governance and technical standards and systems on both sides of the border, as well as different cultures. Luckily, the knowledge we have acquired in other international rail projects helps us here, such at the Betuwe route from Rotterdam into Germany and the Zuid high-speed line to Belgium.
We have already achieved our first success: based on the first part of the study, the Ministry and the Province of Limburg decided in June 2016 to invest €58 million in doubling the track between Heerlen and Landgraaf. The single-track stretch from Heerlen-Landgraaf is currently still an important bottleneck.