Bernd Althusman, the German transport minister, is in favour of realising a rail line between the Drenthe city of Emmen and the German town of Rheine.
Translation by Traci White
Local and regional governments are also reportedly on board to make the plans a reality by 2025. Previous plans aimed to open the rail line by 2023. The tracks are already in place in some areas, but RTV Drenthe reports that the portion between Coevorden in Drenthe and Neuenhaus in Germany still need to be adapted for use as a training area.
The length of track in question is currently used by slow-moving freight trains. It is not clear exactly how much money it would take to make the needed changes to the Neuenhaus-Emlichheim-Coevorden tracks, but it is estimated to be in the tens of millions.
A join declaration of intention was signed by parties in the border regions and presented to the transport minister. Althusman says that he will make the rail connection to the Netherlands a priority and has approved of a renewed effort to find funding for the line.
If the plans move forward, they will likely be implemented in stages: the train line will need to be extended to Emlichheim, and then to Coevorden and Emmen. A double track portion will be necessary between the two Drenthe towns in order to accommodate eight Arriva trains during rush hour.
Drenthe alderperson Henk Brink says that he is glad to hear that there is newfound interest in reactivating the international rail connection. The last time that passenger trains used the Coevorden station was in 1939. In 1974, the German portion of the line was also closed to passenger trains.
Photo source: Wikipedia