Shunting yard in Rotterdam port may once again shut down

Image: Marieke van GompelMarieke van Gompel

The functionality of Dutch emplacement yard Waalhaven South is once again under threat, as the infrastructure manager has admitted it may not be able to provide the required extinguishing facilities before the deadline of 1 January 2023. It has informed the city of Rotterdam that it is 63 million euros short. If it does not meet the deadline, the the shunting yard must close again.

The Municipality of Rotterdam has asked State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management Vivianne Heijnen to help ProRail find a solution to the safety problems at the Waalhaven Zuid yard. The yard was reopened in April 2021 and currently runs on a temporary fire safety solution. This solution was expire within a year time.

“The seriousness of the situation that has arisen and the apparent inability of ProRail to get out of this impasse independently has prompted me and the Safety Region to once again urgently appeal to the State Secretary to work out a solution with ProRail in a timely manner”, writes Rotterdam alderman Arno Bonte to the city council on Friday.

Extinguishing facility temporary

Rotterdam has been at odds with ProRail for some years now. The shunting of trains with hazardous substances at Waalhaven South in the Rotterdam port area was suspended in September 2019. The extinguishing facilities were found to be inadequate, which means that the safe deployment of the emergency services cannot be guaranteed.

Since April 2021, the yard in the port of Rotterdam has been available again for shunting with hazardous substances due to the deployment of a temporary fire extinguisher train. But this permit is valid until 1 January 2023 and now ProRail indicates that it will not have a permanent solution by then.


Together with the Rotterdam-Rijnmond Safety Region, the municipality has threatened the infrastructure manager several times in recent years with a penalty due to various safety violations. In 2020, Rotterdam has granted ProRail the maximum possible delay until 1 January 2023 to comply with the safety requirements. ProRail promised to honor those agreements.

ProRail has indicated that it depends on the ministry for a timely solution to this problem. Failure to order the repair work on 15 February means that the safety requirements at the shunting yard will not be met on 1 January 2023. It is not yet clear when the department will issue that order.

This article was originally published on Spoorpro, our sister publication.

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor of and chief editor of the ProMedia Group online magazines.

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