Members of the D66 faction in the Smallingerland municipal council, which includes Drachten, are calling for a rail connection to the Frisian city.
Translation by Traci White
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that the party is in favour of creating the Lelylijn, which would run from Groningen to Lelystad and would stop in Drachten, Heerenveen and Emmeloord along the way.
D66 representatives on the municipal, provincial and national levels are calling for the Lelylijn to be developed to improve the region’s connection to rail infrastructure, shorten travel times to the Randstad and make it possible for people to commute from Friesland to the more populous west of the country. D66 members also argue that additional train connections would contribute to bringing down CO2 emissions by reducing the number of cars on the road
Drachten, which is the second largest city in Friesland with a population of more than 45,000 people, cannot currently be reached by train. The city had a tram service to Groningen until 1956 and was part of the NS freight train route until 1985. Plans to create the Zuiderzeelijn, which would have connected Groningen, Drachten, Heenveen, Lelystad and Amsterdam, has been rejected repeatedly over the years due to the costs involved.
D66 provincial councilor Romke de Jong says that the plans should be revived to alleviate the pressure on the housing market in the Randstad and to prevent brain drain and population decline in Friesland. If the Lelylijn plans were to move forward, it would be unlikely to come online before the year 2040.