Support for the project now extends across the North
Translated by Thomas Ansell
Substantial savings on travel-time, loads of new passengers, and surprisingly cost-effective; the ‘Lelylijn’ has been declared a good investment by the Province of Friesland. The new train line would connect a high-speed line between Lelystad (Flevoland) and Heerenveen, Drachten, and Groningen- meaning no more dreaded changes at Zwolle. The Province wants a commitment to the new rail line included in the ‘Future Plans Public Transport 2040’ (Toekomstbeeld OV 2040), which will be set out by the national government. As reported by the Omrop Fryslân.
Friesland has reached the conclusion following research that has been undertaken by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Waterways, and the three Northern provinces. The research looked into three potential ways of creating faster public transport between the Randstad and North: make existing lines quicker, laying out new tracks, and high-speed bus links.
The third option (buses) dismissed due to a lack of speed. But the two train-led options seems very workable; whether that is improving the existing Amsterdam-Zwolle-Groningen/Leeuwarden line, or building a fast Lelylijn. Both would cut travel times; with upgrading the existing line saving 20 minutes, and the Lelylijn saving up to 40 minutes. In both plans trains could run at 200 km/h.
One significant advantage to the Lelylijn idea is that it would mean no particular upheaval for passengers using the existing line. Moreover, it would mean that the entire Northern rail infrastructure is strengthened, with twice the capacity.
According to Deputy Avine Fokkens-Kelder (VVD), the Lelylijn is something that is of ‘national importance’: “the Netherlands is too small to have any peripheral areas. If the Lelylijn is built, you really can live in Friesland and work in the Randstad. By putting in a new line the entire country benefits, because the Randstad really is too busy, and will soon be ‘full’”.
The cost of building the Lelylijn (next to the A7 motorway) could cost between 3.2 and 6.4 Billion euros. Whilst a large cost, it is likely cheaper than upgrading existing infrastructure (cost of 3.6 to 7.1 Billion). Improving the existing line would also only save half the travel time. Deputy Fokkens hopes that financing for the project can come from the Wopke-Wiebes-Fonds; which is earmarked for investing in the future of the Netherlands.
Image via Lelylijn.nl