Railway maintenance to face half-billion euro shortfall

ProRail is facing a budget shortfall of approximately 575 million euros for projects planned in the period 2018 to 2028.

This is according to an investigation into the finances of the railway operator done by an independent consultancy firm PWC, LeighFisher and Horvat & Partners, State Secretary Wilma Mansveld of Infrastructure wrote to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, RTL Nieuws reports.

ProRail is looking into measures to eliminate the deficit and to better manage the risks in the future. The rail operator will report these measures to her early next year, Mansveld wrote. The State Secretary is considering giving ProRail "longer train-free periods" for maintenance as one measure to eliminate the deficit. That means maintenance could be done during the day instead of only on weekends or at night. This would result in maintenance being cheaper, but will also have many implications for the travelers.

In addition to the shortfall, the consultancy firm, the ProRail may also face further financial setbacks in the future. A number of projects, including the Betuwe route, more maintenance on tunnels, more intensive use of the rail and the replacement of the Oosterdock bridges at Amsterdam, are likely to be more expensive than ProRail estimates.