The planned express train between Groningen and Bad Nieuwschans will not be able to travel at 140 kilometres per hour along certain portions of the track. A soil survey conducted last year by ProRail concluded that the ground underneath the tracks is not stable enough to handle high speed rail travel.
The province requested a second opinion, which came to the same conclusion. “It’s a setback”, says D66 alderperson Fleur Gräper. RTV Noord reports that an express train between Groningen and Bad Nieuweschans in Germany is an important part of the Wunderline rail network. Service between the two cities means that passengers can travel from Groningen to Bremen quickly and comfortably.
The projected express train’s speed – 140 kilometres per hour – would cause the ground below to shake more than a train travelling at the normal speed of 120 kph. The ground acceleration that results from the increased speed would be too much for the current tracks to handle. Ensuring adequate soil conditions along the whole route would require investing a lot of time a money, investments that the province is unwilling to make.
Even though the route will be slower than expected, Gräper argues that the Bad Nieuweschans connection is still important. To that end, she is requesting an additional 1.65 million euros for the adapted plan, including identifying areas along the route where the train can make better time. The likeliest solution will be shorter stops at stations along the way.
Soil condition is not the first disappointment for the Wunderline: in 2015, a bridge along the route – the Friesenbrücke – was seriously damaged by a boat. The bridge will not be fully repaired until 2024.
Photo courtesy of ProRail.