The money would be used for the Lelylijn, the Nedersaksen line, and improvements to existing links
Translated by Thomas Ansell
All three Northern provinces, plus the Province of Flevoland, have all joined together to ask the Dutch government for investments in rail infrastructure totaling 9.5 billion, reports the Omrop Fryslân. The Provinces have joined together to present a proposal called ‘Building blocks for the Deltaplan’, which argues that the new train links could stimulate building 220,000 homes.
New links to be built would include the Lelylijn between Groningen, Friesland, and the Randstad. The Nedersaksen line into Germany would also receive funding, and money would be spent improving the lines between Groningen, Leeuwarden, and the Randstad.
The proposal is to be presented to the Tweede Kamer (lower house) in response to a policy question of helping the North to ‘grow’. Avine Fokkens (VVD), a Deputy at the Province of Friesland says: “we want to help with the national question of a housing shortage, but we cannot offer that without better infrastructure.”
The largest portion of the money would be used for the Lelylijn project (see our profile of it here). This would require the creation of a new rail line from Groningen to Lelystad, via Drachten and Heerenveen, and could cost around 6.5 billion euros. “The Lelylijn is really important as part of an overall plan, and we are also approaching a position where it is possible. In fact, all political parties in the Tweede Kamer included the Lelylijn in their election manifestos, so it’s looking positive”, says Fokkens.
More connections from Emmen
Existing connections would also be improved under the proposals, and it is proposed that another line be built between Groningen and Enschede (via Emmen). More connections would be built between the North and countries to the east of the Netherlands, which would include the Lelylijn: “eventually we would want the Lelylijn to connect towards Hamburg, and on to Scandinavia”, says Fokkens.
Plans for more housing along the new routes have come under fire at provincial level in Friesland, where the FNP (Frisian Nationalist Party) have lodged an objection. However, Fokkens is optimistic that in the long run, the new infrastructure is the answer to several regional questions: “in ten years the first train will be on the Lelylijn towards Friesland’, she says.