EU stands in way of improvements to Dutch rail system

5 August 2008

EU stands in way of improvements to Dutch rail system

The European Commission is hindering any possibility that Dutch trains will soon be able to travel more quickly. The adaptation of the 'ATB' security system, which would make this possible, simply isn't acceptable, in the European Commission's view. The Dutch ATB system isn't up to scratch and must be replaced by a European system, ERTMS. In the SP's opinion, however, this EU-approved system is expensive, doesn't work very well, and won't come on stream until 2020.

Erik Meijer"I want to know what the European Commission is going to do to dispel the discontent which has arisen in the Netherlands as a result of Brussels' refusal to agree to the ATB system," says Erik Meijer, Member of the European Parliament for the SP. "The European system costs €220 million a year, and the Dutch system 23 million. So I'm asking for some explanation from the European Commission of their preference for the former."

Plans had been drawn up to provide faster connections from 2011 on the new line to Schiphol, Almere and Lelystad and between Amsterdam and Utrecht, The Hague and Leiden and Eindhoven and Boxtel. 'Brussels needs to be told that the Dutch improvement plans are not aimed at preventing the system going over to a European standard," says Erik Meijer. "That has already been decided upon, with the high-speed lines, which we have already built, experimenting with ERTMS. I want the Commission to explain on what grounds they are attempting to stand in the way of these quite limited improvements to the Dutch rail system."

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