Rail Baltica and ProRail discuss best practices for railway infrastructure management

Rail Baltica hosted an experience exchange meeting with representatives from ProRail, the Dutch government organization responsible for maintaining and expanding the national railway network infrastructure. The aim was to encourage mutual learning and the exchange of best practices in managing large-scale infrastructure projects.

ProRail oversees the Dutch railway infrastructure, managing maintenance, rail capacity allocation, and traffic control. As part of NS Railinfratrust, ProRail is deeply involved in forecasting future passenger and freight flows up to 2050, designing timetables, and extending infrastructure with both national and international perspectives, particularly through the Eurolink project. The meeting also included specialists from Asset Management and the Belgian infrastructure manager, Infrabel.

The discussions covered a wide range of topics crucial to the successful implementation of railway infrastructure projects. These included navigating political landscapes, securing funding and procurement, addressing environmental issues, and managing engineering and asset management challenges. The conversation also touched on improving logistical connections to nearby cities and integrating new lines with existing networks.

A significant focus was the ongoing Rail Baltica Riga Central Station project, with both parties discussing its regional implications. The feasibility and planning of the ambitious tunnel project extending to Finland also came under discussion, garnering interest from ProRail. Rail Baltica representatives provided a comprehensive overview of the project, highlighting the challenges and progress, especially in Latvia. An on-site visit to the Riga Central Station construction site offered practical insights into the project’s execution.

ProRail provided an overview of three major infrastructure projects currently under political debate in the Netherlands. The first project, the “Lely Line,” proposes a high-speed line extension from Schiphol Airport via Lelystad to Groningen. The second, the “Nedersaksen Line,” aims to establish a new link from Veendam to Stadskanaal to serve the Groningen – Enschede passenger route. The third project, the “North Branch Betuwe Line” seeks to extend the existing freight corridor from Rotterdam harbors to the German Ruhrgebiet.

ProRail also shared valuable insights from past two decades of railway construction, highlighting key projects such as the high-speed line from Schiphol Airport via Rotterdam and Breda to Antwerp, the freight line from Rotterdam harbors to the German Ruhrgebiet, and the Hanzelijn, which bridges the missing link between Lelystad and Zwolle.

The meeting also featured a presentation from ProRail covering railway traffic management systems and addressing environmental issues, enhancing the depth of knowledge exchange between the two organizations.