Night train connecting Amsterdam to Scandinavian capitals under consideration: Report
This story was updated as more information became available.
Representatives of five prominent European cities are looking into a night train which would stretch all the way from Amsterdam to Helsinki, according to a newspaper report published on Friday. The train route would conceivably stop in Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm along with the Dutch and Finnish capitals. The cities' governments have put this project on their political agendas, Dagblad van het Noorden wrote.
The five cities plan to lobby in Brussels for money to perform a feasibility study into the lengthy train service between the Dutch capital, Germany's second largest city by population, and the Scandinavian capitals. The topic is expected to be discussed by representatives of the five cities at a meeting in Hamburg in May, the newspaper said. European officials, like European Commission Executive VP Frans Timmermans, have said they want more international rail options to reduce the volume of short-haul flights.
"The city of Amsterdam is in favor of good international train routes, especially where they offer a nice alternative to short trips by airplane," a spokesperson for the city wrote to NL Times. He said several options are being investigated at an official level, stopping short of confirming the report in Dagblad van het Noorden. "As long as the investigations are ongoing, and no decision-making process has taken place, we cannot comment about specific train routes."
The train route should be viewed "as the intention and wishes of those five cities,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management said to NL Times. Since it was reportedly being discussed only at the municipal level, she declined to comment on the specific proposal and lobbying effort at this early stage. Though she said she did not think those five cities could gather the billions of euros needed to make this project happen in its entirety on their own, she welcomed the enthusiasm for improving rail transit between the Netherlands and destinations across the country's borders.
“The ministry and [Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen] believe in better international connections via railway and we are running several projects to improve this," she said. Several international routes have generated significant attention recently, including direct trains between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and London, and a revived route between Amsterdam and Berlin.
Van Nieuwenhuizen, a member of the conservative VVD party, has said in the past she opposed the notion of "flight shame", encouraging the Dutch constituency to guiltlessly enjoy their vacation time. Last year, and for the first time ever, holidaymakers in the Netherlands traveled to their destinations by air more frequently than by car.
According to the newspaper, this project would be an extension of the high speed line already on the cards between Amsterdam and Groningen.