NS REIZIGERS, which operates Dutch passenger trains, is in a bind. Traffic is at record levels and rising by 6% a year on the principal lines. It is currently negotiating a concession with the transport ministry, which is demanding ambitious growth rates at higher levels of punctuality while stalling on key infrastructure developments that would provide extra capacity. This is needed to deliver a 50% increase in passenger-km between 1997 and 2010, when 25% more freight could be using passenger lines despite completion of the Betuwe line between Rotterdam and the German frontier.

The SignalComm Europe conference in Birmingham was told by Ing Paolo de Jong on May 16 that his government believed replacing existing signalling with ETCS Level 3 moving block would solve capacity problems. With this in mind, quadrupling of the line between Utrecht and Arnhem had been dropped, even though it was ’an integral part’ of plans for the High Speed Line East from Amsterdam to K