Improving the rail connectivity of the North-Netherlands region and including it in the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T network) could be beneficial not only for the region, but also for Europe as a whole. To verify this hypothesis, the North Netherlands Region commissioned Prognos to evaluate the potential of an expanded cross-border Amsterdam – North Netherlands – Hamburg railway connection. For this purpose, we investigated not only the effects of improved freight and passenger transport in the region on transport policy, but also on economic, social, innovation and environmental policy.
Northern Holland as a gateway between important metropolitan areas
The Prognos Mobility & Transport team and the Brussels office have established a comprehensive compendium of facts and arguments highlighting the importance of the railway line at regional, national, and European level. In addition, we provide support for stakeholder networking in Northern Germany and Scandinavia.
The study identifies the Northern Netherlands region as a "gateway" between two large metropolitan areas: the Dutch Randstad metropolitan region and Bremen-Hamburg. As the study shows, improving the rail connections of the Northern Netherlands to these metropolitan areas has many benefits.
How to improve the connection between the Randstad and Bremen-Hamburg metropolitan areas?
Improved connection of the regions can be achieved by extending the existing rail link between Amsterdam and Groningen in combination with the construction of the new Lelylijn and the Nedersaksenlijn. With the flagship project "Wunderline" of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a transport project of the province of Groningen, the state of Lower Saxony and the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, as well as the fixed crossing "Fehnmarnbelt" between Hamburg and Copenhagen, important cross-border projects already exist in the region.
To ensure a swift international connection, the upgrade would be combined with these developments. This transforms North Netherlands into a real gateway between Western and Northern Europe and part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T network).
How could an upgraded rail connection benefit the regions?
"Improving the rail connection would not only reduce travel time, but also contribute to European ambitions. It would boost economic growth in the Northern Netherlands and surrounding regions, enable more sustainable travel and improve cooperation on green hydrogen, trade and innovation," says Prognos project manager Alexander Labinsky. The connection would contribute to a shift in traffic and to the resilience of the European rail network. It could bring achieving the European Union's ambitions from the Green Deal and the goals of the EU's cohesion policy one step closer. Thus, the conclusion of the study is: It is time to close this gap in the TEN-T network!
Authors: Alexander Labinsky, Jutta Wolff, Maike Breitzke, Kai-Lennart Brune, Ben Gibbels, Neysan Khabirpour
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