Freek van Arkel

2nd branch of the Betuwe Route in the Netherlands: what is the status?

Nederland, Rotterdam, 2011 Foto; Freek van Arkel/Hollandse Hoogte

More cargo on the rails. This seems to be something everybody wants. But if it requires a new railway line, the discussion becomes more complicated. Such is the case with the Northern Branch of the Dutch Betuwe Route. This branch is all but taken for granted.

The Northern Branch would add an offshoot of the Betuwe Route between Zevenaar and Hengelo, cross the border at Oldenzaal and run directly to the north of Germany. This would alleviate pressure on not only the Betuwe Route, but also on the mixed railway lines, which are densely populated.

Pro’s and con’s

It sounds like an appealing proposition, but when the concept was brought back to the discussion table in 2020, the opposition was loud and clear. The inhabitants of the region the Achterhoek, which covers the eastern parts of Gelderland and Overijssel, did not want to see a new piece of iron in their backyard. This would harm nature, bring noise pollution and worsen the quality of living in the mostly rural region.

The opponents were soon labelled nimby’s – not in my backyard protesters – and considered to be insensitive to the needs of the rail freight industry, or the Green Deal objectives of increasing the modal shift to rail. Both sides have been heard by politicians, with the result that the pro’s and con’s are currently investigated. The last word has not yet been said.

Join the discussion

On Tuesday 24 May, the discussion will be continued during the Spoorpro Seminar Investments in Rail Infrastructure. This seminar is held in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, and the spoken language is Dutch.

Participants of the panel discussion are Hans-Willen Vroon (RailGood), Maarten Balk (Municipality Rotterdam), Mark Dijk (Port of Rotterdam), Eline van den Brink (RONA), Leendert Stutvoet (RONA) and Koos de Looff (VVD Gelderland). Registration for this event is still open, participation is only physical.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

1 comment op “2nd branch of the Betuwe Route in the Netherlands: what is the status?”

bönström bönström|18.05.22|13:32

Thus for sake of all:
Capacity, of existing, substantially has to be added!
Utilisation of assets, shall not be obstructed, due to vulnerable, low price, noisy, low quality, infrastructure.
(All other, global, devices, by air, by sea upgrade for higher loads and for lower costs. As well the on road trucks do…)
Quality pays and within “blood system” of society, in particular…It is 2022 now and the Old Railway now is due for a timely upgrading.
Short heavy trains are better than long, etc.

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