Dutch Railways looking into building homes above train tracks

Utrecht Central Station
Utrecht Central Station Photo: innervision/DepositPhotos

Dutch rail company NS is looking into building thousands of homes above the railways around Utrecht Central Station, Amsterdam Sloterdijk, and The Hague Central Station. NS wants to use the money it expects to earn with this to modernize the train stations, RTL Nieuws reports.

Buildings are often built above train tracks in foreign cities, NS spokesperson Erik Kroeze said to RTL Z. "At Grand Central Terminal in New York the tracks are not even visible anymore. They have been built over completely. That also applies to stations in Paris and Liverpool." According to NS, the railway around Utrecht Central Station alone offers 91 thousand square meters of building land. "Football fields of land" are also available around Amsterdam Sloterdijk and The Hague Central Station. 

In 1995 NS was granted the exclusive right to build above the railways. Until now the company did nothing with that right, because building above the tracks is relatively expensive. But the ever-rising housing prices in the Netherlands, and especially in the Randstad area, is making it increasingly worth it. 

In addition to providing extra housing, building above the tracks can also mean that NS will no longer be purely dependent on the government for financing. "By building above the tracks of Amsterdam Sloterdijk, you don't only build a beautiful city district, but part of the revenue can also be used for the renovation of the station", Kroeze said, according to the broadcaster. 

Homes located above train tracks will naturally have to be built to be resistant to vibrations and noise pollution caused by passing trains.