Dutch freight services run through nature reserve
Rail freight services have begun operating along a controversial route through a nature reserve in The Netherlands.
A weekly service is running between Budel and Weert in Brabant province, in the south of the country, via Hamont in neighbouring Belgium. The unnamed rail operator had originally applied to run up to 10 trains a week on the line, says national rail infrastructure manager ProRail.
ProRail says the use of this line is ‘sensitive’, as it runs directly through a bird preservation area which is part of the Limburg region nature reserve Weerter-Budelerbergen. Several years ago the Province of Limburg went to the Council of State, the national advisory body on legislation, to challenge the future use of the route. It claimed that the train services would disrupt bird species such as the Stonechat and the Nightjar.
The Council of State has now imposed various restrictions on weekly use of the line.