In the heart of Groningen, a storm of indignation is brewing within the Party for the North as news of the central station’s insufficient capacity spreads like wildfire. The local political party is outraged that the city’s main railway station is too small to accommodate all of the trains that are expected to use it, the Dagblad van het Noorden reported yesterday.
“We are very shocked by this,” said Dries Zwart, the party’s leader. “Nobody saw this coming. The state assembly never mentioned this. We have big ambitions: a Wunderline, a Lelylijn, and a Nedersaksenlijn. We’ve been talking about the infrastructure that is needed for years, and now it turns out that there is not enough platform space for our ambitions. You can probably tell by the way I’m talking that I’m really angry. How is this even possible?”
The unsettling revelation about the central station came from State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Vivianne Heijnen. She warned that once the renovation of the station area concludes in 2025, there will not be enough platform space for a direct train to Bremen. In order to make the train service possible, additional platform capacity in the form of an extra turning track or more space is needed.
Zwart’s frustration is palpable as he laments the inadequate planning of the project. The ongoing construction has already transformed the area into a bustling construction site, and only now the public has learnt it is severely undersized to cater to the province’s ambitious public transportation plans. The focus has been on stimulating public transport to maintain the city’s livability, yet now it faces the risk of stagnation due to a lack of capacity.
“It’s a hard blow,” Zwart says. “When you drive past the station now, you see a big construction site. But we already know that we are working on a project that is much too small. And I want to know why that is the case.”
To seek answers and accountability, the party has submitted written inquiries, though Zwart acknowledges it is unrealistic to expect quick answers during the holiday season. Nevertheless, he believes this is the only recourse available at present.
Beyond just the central station, concerns have been raised about the Lelylijn, the railway connecting the Randstad and Groningen. It appears that adequate planning for the line has also been neglected, leaving the party to question the foresight and decision-making behind the project.