€20 billion needed for public transit to cope with passenger growth long-term: report

Passengers board a train to Vlissingen at Amsterdam Central Station, 19 Jan 2018
Passengers board a train to Vlissingen at Amsterdam Central Station, 19 Jan 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

The public transit sector, cities and transport regions drew up long-term plans to make sure train transport can cope with the strong growth in passengers in the future. At least 20 billion euros will be needed for their plans, which span from 2020 towards 2040, the Telegraaf reports based on wish lists from the sector. 

These plans, and the money needed for them, come on top of the already planned maintenance work and projects. They aim to get the basics of the rail network in order, clear maintenance backlogs, clear bottlenecks, and create more capacity, a source told the newspaper. According to the sector, if these proposals are implemented, train traffic should be able to run smoothly until well after 2030.

A big focus in the plans is speeding up the introduction of so-called spoorboekloos rijden - having trains run so frequently that travelers no longer need a timetable to determine when they go to the station. According to rail manager ProRail, "trains can run more often, faster and closer together to create space on the full track". The public transit sector also wants to make faster international train connections and start running self-driving locomotives. 

Other proposals include extending the Noord-Zuid subway line in Amsterdam to Schiphol, and improving the so-called light rail connections between cities, on which trains run 12 times per hour. 

The parties involved hope to fund these proposals through a government investment fund that is in the making