Freight train on Betuweroute. Photo credit: ProRail

Northern branch of Betuwe route still faces opposition

Various interest groups from the Dutch municipality of Berkelland have expressed their disagreement with proposals for a northern branch of the Betuwe Route. They did this with a letter to State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure and Water Management. “A new railway line where freight trains run day and night will affect the living and living environment of tens of thousands of people,” the joint interest groups state.

The Betuwe Line is a freight-only railway line connecting the Netherlans and Germany. Currently, the bulk of traffic runs via Bad Bentheim. In order to relieve this border crossing, a northern branch is required by the industry. This would lead via the Dutch region ‘de Achterhoek’ to Oldenzaal.

Earlier opposition

The route envisaged by the policymakers leads past Groenlo and then crosses the Berkelland municipality in the direction of Haaksbergen, causing unrest in various villages in the municipality. Earlier in 1999 and later in 2013, the residents were also against plans for the line. Ultimately, the plan for a northern branch of the Betuwe Line was rejected in 2014 by then State Secretary Wilma Mansveld.

The joint interest groups point out to the State Secretary the decision of her distant predecessor to dispose of a northern branch and call on Van Veldhoven to do the same. In the Development Agenda for the Future of Public Transport 2040, the State Secretary recently explained why the line was needed. It would particularly be important for the routing of freight trains from Rotterdam to Northeast Europe, a vital corridor.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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