Today, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, that of North Rhine-Westphalia and Deutsche Bahn signed a financial agreement for the construction of a third rail line between Emmerich and Oberhausen. This is an important milestone in the extension of the Betuweroute in Germany. It will solve a bottleneck for freight trains on the route between Rotterdam and Duisburg.
Port of Rotterdam Authority CEO Hans Smits is both happy and relieved. “It was no mean feat. Three years ago, the third rail line was pretty low on the German list of priorities. Thanks to good, well-planned lobbying, with the Dutch government and port businesses, the tide gradually turned. A vital element here was the support from companies in North Rhine-Westphalia and, more particularly, the government of the federal state. It changed from a ‘project for the port of Rotterdam’ to one about the export power of the hinterland. The construction of the third rail line will also mean building dozens of tunnels and bridges, which are very important in limiting the nuisance caused to local residents”.
Things will not be easy for users and local residents, however, during the forthcoming construction phase. To guarantee sufficient capacity for freight traffic during this period, it is important that the Kaldenkirchen-Duelken stretch of the diversion is tackled quickly. The government of North Rhine-Westphalia is paying due attention to this. According to the current schedule, the third rail line should be completed in 2022.