Project overview

Within Investment 2 – IC connection Eindhoven–Aachen – the existing rail connection between the two important “Brainport” knowledge regions of Eindhoven and Aachen is being upgraded into a high-quality rail connection.

Currently, Eindhoven and Aachen are poorly connected by public transport. Although rail service is provided, there is no quality IC connection. Before the RoCK project, the geographical extent of the Dutch railway concession network (hoofdrailnet concessie) stopped in Heerlen, just before the German border. Thus, there is no adequate IC connection to fill the gap of 20 km to the German and European High Speed Train (HST) network. Furthermore, there are different operating systems on both sides of the border. Today, Dutch IC trains using electrical motor units cannot run on the German voltage network.

Necessary for the IC connection Eindhoven–Aachen is doubling track in some sections and electrifying track between Landgraaf, the Netherlands, and the Dutch/German border. The stakeholders from both sides of the border have to find new innovative solutions regarding ticketing, pricing, operations and contractual arrangement to close the gap between the Dutch and the German railway network as well as the European High Speed Train services.

Innovative aspects

  • The new Dutch main network (hoofdrailnet concessie) concession for 2015–2025 includes for the first time foreign destinations. For RoCK in particular, this means the central stations in Aachen and in Düsseldorf. To include these cities in the concession, national law in the Netherlands had to be changed. Lobbying efforts by RoCK partner Parkstad Limburg were decisive for this achievement.


  • All together the Dutch government and the Province of Limburg have provided €58 million to improve track up to the German border. Work includes electrifying track between Landgraaf, the Netherlands, and the Dutch/German border and track-doubeling between Heerlen and Landgraaf. Work on electrification is scheduled for completion in 2017.
  • Also, the track on the German side of the border will be electrified and the Herzogenrath station modified. Leading German stakeholder AVV not only financed the infrastructure improvement, but also created new international pricing and ticket distribution services. Within RoCK, innovative contracts have been signed that replace convoluted cross-border ticketing with international seamlessness between Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
  • To really make borders disappear in cross-border rail travel, new, comprehensive and interlocking tariff and ticketing systems have to be in place. The catchphrases in this regard: single rail market and seamless mobility. One group set to profit from this cross-border connection is students: In comparison to Aachen with its large student population, housing is less expensive in Parkstad Limburg. To make it more attractive for students to live on one side of the border and to study on the other, a student ticket has been initiated for cross-border travel between Aachen and Parkstad Limburg. For this to happen, transport authorities on both sides of the border had to collaborate with one another. The legal basis is a transnational administrative agreement.
  • With the prospects of improved rail service, the borders between Parkstad Limburg and the area around Aachen have started to disappear, bringing the knowledge regions in Eindhoven and Aachen closer than they have ever been before.


Project ended December 2015