AS SOON AS registration closed at 15.00 on September 15, Netherlands Transport Minister Tineke Netelenbos confirmed that four consortia had applied for the concession to operate services on HSL Zuid. The four groups were given until 10.00 on October 2 to submit formal qualification documents.

The international field includes a mix of private franchise operators and state-owned bodies from the rail, bus and air sectors. The four groupings are: