There is growing support for research into the feasibility of the ‘Lelyline’: a very fast train connection between Amsterdam and Friesland/Groningen, at the Dutch parliament in The Hague
To this end, a new rail line between Lelystad and Groningen must be constructed. By constructing the Lely line, the travel time between the North and the Randstad can be reduced by one hour. Such a connection would have profound consequences for Groningen’s economy.
On Monday 25 November, a motion will be put to the vote in the Lower House in which the petitioners CDA, D66, ChristenUnie and VVD will ask the government to investigate the feasibility of a new rail link: the Lely line.
The Lely line is a proposed Dutch rail connection between Lelystad and Groningen with stations in at least Emmeloord, Heerenveen and Drachten. The proposed railway line is named after Cornelis Lely, the civil engineer who masterminded the Zuiderzee works.
It is somewhat remarkable that there is again interest in the Lely line in the Lower House, as similar plans were rejected in the recent past. This may have to do with the fact that it is becoming too busy on the track near Zwolle, causing delays and scheduling issues.
Moreover, MPs want faster train connections throughout Europe, as an alternative to flying. And that includes a fast connection between the Randstad and Groningen, which could then be extended to Hamburg and Berlin.
President and CEO of the NS Roger van Boxtel is also a strong proponent of a separate Lely line, which could cost significant amounts of money.
The Lely line will yield a much greater train gain than improvements to the Hanze line, which, as it became known last week, will provide a time gain of just 4 minutes between Rotterdam and Groningen.
Consequences for Groningen
The consequences for Groningen of the construction of such a line are potentially enormous, with Groningen being less peripheral, compared to other parts of the Netherlands. It will become more attractive for offices to settle around the Central station. And people who work in the Randstad can continue to live in Groningen.
Groningen will also become part of a European network thanks to the Lely line that can be extended to Germany, meaning faster connections for the entire country. Many will point to Groningen’s remoteness having inspired significant marketing of the city as a city, not just as a part of the country.