DUTCH Minister of Transport & Waterways Annemarie Lebink has approved 19 organisations to run on the Railned network in addition to Netherlands Railways. This is part of the programme to open up the national network to competing operators, all of whom must first gain a Railned safety certificate and then have their timetable approved by Railned’s network capacity office.

As well as passenger operators NS Reizigers, HST-VEM (for Thalys services), Lovers Rail with licences for services on four routes, and four operators of vintage charter trains, the list includes seven freight operators.

One, NS Cargo, provides freight services within the Netherlands. ACTS, partly owned by NS, will operate wherever NS Cargo has ceased to run, and NS Cargo will carry ACTS containers. Shortlines, owner of three German-built Type DE1024 diesel locos, plans to run shuttle trains between Rotterdam and K