After five years of RoCK, what’s the main focus of Investment 2 today?
Right now electrification of the rail track between Landgraaf in the Netherlands and Herzogenrath in Germany is the main focus. This electrification is needed for cross-border intercity service. We often refer to this last bit as the “missing link”.
In managing this project, what previous experience was Parkstad Limburg able to draw on?
Parkstad Limburg is not a public transport authority, so in fact working on such a project was a totally new experience for us. We were, however, supported by the transport authorities from the Province of Limburg, from the city of Aachen (Aachener Verkehrsverbund, AVV) and from the Rhineland region (Nahverkehr Rheinland, NVR). It was a new experience to put something like this on the agenda.
If you had to name one achievement that is unique to your project, what would it be?
A unique result is that we helped change the law in the Netherlands for public transport, because today rail hubs across the border are part of the Dutch railway concessions. This means that the Dutch railway company Nederlandse Spoorwegen is obliged to serve the next over-the-border railway hubs. Of course, connections still have to be built up, but this is a great start, because we know that when the infrastructure is in place, trains will start to roll.
What advantages does this hold for passengers?
The biggest advantage is direct connections to Europe’s high-speed train (HST) network, without having to change trains at the border. In the case of Parkstad Limburg and Aachen, more frequent connections over the border make it more attractive for students to live in Parkstad Limburg and study in Aachen.
In retrospect, what did you achieve through RoCK that would have otherwise been impossible?
Quite simply, more or less all of our achievements can be chalked up to our participation in RoCK. The contacts we made through RoCK were also essential for aligning timetables and making decisions along the way.