Groningen could become a transport hub for Northern Europe
As reported in The Northern Times last week, there is a remarkable initiative by five major cities for a very fast train from Amsterdam via Groningen to Helsinki and Stockholm.
At the moment, plans are very much in their infancy, but reactions from politicians and businesspeople are very enthusiastic, as reported in the Dagblad van het Noorden.
The reactions to the intention of major European cities to lobby the EU for support for a high-speed line to Scandinavia range from “nice early ambition” to “yes! Let’s do it.”
Ton Schroor, Director of the employers union VNO-NCW Noord has confidence in the power of cities such as Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki. “If this Big 5 want it, come on with your billions from the national investment fund!”, he said. Dutch Ministers Wopke Hoekstra (Finance) and Eric Wiebes (Economic Affairs and Climate) would need to swing behind the plans for them to occur. Schroor continued: “your first successful project is ready: the Lely line.”
The Lely line refers to a fast line from Amsterdam via Friesland to Groningen. It is being embraced as a part of any fast rail link Amsterdam-Hamburg-Copenhagen-Stockholm.
According to Fleur de Gräper (D66), a representative from the province of Groningen, a high-speed line to Scandinavia via the Northern Netherlands should not be missing in the current era.
“It is a logical and missing link in the European rail network. It also fits in with the Green Deal that European Commissioner Frans Timmermans wants to conclude with the member states. We are already lobbying to have the Wunderline and the Lelylijn as parts of a fast track. “
Gräper says that the province is very happy to support the city of Groningen as it tries for a fast railway line to Scandinavia. “The municipality has warm ties with Hamburg. We talk a lot with Bremen and Oldenburg. We help each other.”