Maaslijn Arriva train (Photo: ProRail)

NETHERLANDS: ProRail has cancelled a tender for electrification of the Maaslijn between Nijmegen and Roermond, saying the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the increasing cost of materials and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the supply chain had forced it to reconsider its approach to upgrading the 84 km route.

The infrastructure manager said the decision announced on April 20 would ‘inevitably delay’ the 2024 target date for completing the modernisation of one of the longest and most intensively used single-track lines in the country. Plans include electrification, easing curves to increase line speeds, double tracking at Cuijk, Boxmeer, Venray and Reuver, level crossing upgrades and platform lengthening.

ProRail said it recognised the frustration this would cause passengers, but said it was important to be transparent and realistic about expectations.

ProRail, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management and the provinces of Limburg, Noord-Brabant and Gelderland emphasised that enhancing the route remains a top priority, and preparatory works such as land acquisition are to continue.

Services on the route are currently operated by Arriva using diesel multiple-units, which are scheduled to be replaced with Stadler Flirt EMUs once electrification is completed.