High-speed rail corridors through the Netherlands

At present, there is only one high-speed rail line (HSL) out of the Netherlands. Several lines proposed here earlier, form part of European-level routes or corridors. Proposals for lines within the Netherlands were described in Dutch. Here they listed as corridors, in English, along with the existing HSL to Paris.

The high-speed corridors are listed clockwise, approximately centred on Amsterdam. Although the western Netherlands is a multi-centric conurbation (Randstad), the Amsterdam urban region is the largest in the country.

HSL-Zuid near Dordrecht: image under CC3.0 licence, by user Hullie.

Amsterdam – Groningen – Bremen – Hamburg

This corridor begins with the long-planned Zuiderzeelijn to Groningen, which was formally abandoned in 2007. The variant proposed here earlier, includes a new line through the Flevopolder, and a modified alignment in the Noordoostpolder. From Groningen, trains would continue over the proposed HSL Groningen – Bremen, and the already upgraded line Bremen – Hamburg.

Zwolle – Twente – Münster

This corridor also starts with the new line through the Flevopolder, and its link to Zwolle. It continues as the HSL Zwolle – Enschede, and the connecting HSL to Münster.

Amsterdam – Berlin

The proposed Mittelland HSL would diverge from the Enschede – Münster HSL, and join the existing main line into Hannover. From Amsterdam to Hannover, there would be an entirely new HSL corridor, connecting to the existing HSL Hannover – Berlin.

Right-bank Rhine line

The old main line to the Ruhr follows the right bank of the Rhine, from Arnhem. The high-speed corridor would start with the already upgraded line Amsterdam – Utrecht, and the planned HSL-Oost from Utrecht to Arnhem. A connecting upgrade of the line to Oberhausen has been planned for decades, but never reached the project stage. The alignment is generally suitable for upgrading with a parallel HSL, but the section through Arnhem is a bottleneck.

Amsterdam – Nijmegen – Köln

This high-speed corridor is intended as an alternative for the right-bank Rhine line, which follows a bend in the Rhine (as the river enters the Netherlands). It would start with an upgraded Amsterdam – Amersfoort line. Directly outside Amersfoort station, a new HSL Amersfoort – Nijmegen would begin, using a new alignment through Wageningen. South of Nijmegen, a HSL to Neuss would use a completely new alignment east of the Maas. From Neuss, trains would continue over an upgraded main line to Köln.

Den Haag – Eindhoven – Venlo – Ruhr

This corridor would start with more capacity on the relatively short line Den Haag – Rotterdam. South of Rotterdam, it would use the HSL to Brussels, as far as Breda. An upgraded line to Tilburg would connect to a new HSL Tilburg – Eindhoven. From Eindhoven, the existing line to Venlo would be upgraded, or a new HSL Eindhoven – Venlo built. East of Venlo, a new HSL Venlo – Neuss would connect to the HSL Nijmegen – Köln. There would be a link line toward Krefeld and Duisburg.

Amsterdam – Eindhoven – Aachen

This high-speed corridor would start with the already upgraded Amsterdam – Utrecht line. South of Utrecht, the line is already being 4-tracked to Houten: that section would be incorporated into a new HSL Utrecht – Eindhoven, partly on new alignment. From Eindhoven, the proposed HSL Eindhoven – Sittard would use a new alignment from Weert to Sittard. The corridor continues with the HSL Sittard – Aachen, joining the existing line about 4 km from Aachen Hauptbahnhof.

Nijmegen – Maastricht – Liège

This corridor consists of an upgraded line along the Maas from Nijmegen to Venlo, and from Venlo to Sittard. The shorter line Sittard – Maastricht would be upgraded with a new alignment through Maastricht Airport. South of Maastricht there would be a new HSL Maastricht – Liège, over the plateau above the Maas/Meuse.

Antwerpen – Maastricht – Aachen

This forms a tangent to the radial corridors: it passes through Netherlands territory, with one stop. It consists of the proposed HSL Hasselt – Maastricht, which extends HSL Antwerpen – Hasselt to Maastricht. There it would connect with the HSL Maastricht – Aachen. Together, they would create a new east-west high-speed route: from Antwerpen, via Maastricht, to Aachen and Köln.

HSL-Zuid Amsterdam – Rotterdam – Paris

The only existing high-speed line, the HSL-Zuid, is complete, but not fully in service. It starts near Schiphol Airport Amsterdam, and uses the existing line through Rotterdam. Its second section begins south of Rotterdam, and continues to Antwerpen: in Belgium it is named HSL 4.

Utrecht – Antwerpen

This corridor requires construction of a Utrecht – Breda railway – planned since the 19th century. It should be built as a high-speed line: the existing link from Breda to the HSL-Zuid, would then allow trains to continue to Antwerpen. That would create not only an alternative route from Amsterdam to Antwerpen, but also a ‘diagonal’ high-speed corridor Antwerpen – Zwolle, via an upgraded line Utrecht – Zwolle.

Some other high-speed lines in the Netherlands have been proposed here earlier, but they are not part of cross-border routes, and not listed here.

High-speed rail corridors through the Netherlands

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