NETHERLANDS Railways has retained a tenuous foothold in the bidding to run trains on the HSL Zuid high speed line linking Amsterdam and Antwerpen. The process got under way last month, with HSL Zuid releasing a consultation document and inviting NS to bid to operate domestic services on the route. NS has until mid-August to respond, and its proposal will be scrutinised to determine if it represents value for money. If not, an open competitive tender will be issued to private sector operators; the government said on June 1 that this document was already being prepared to avoid delay should the NS bid prove unsatisfactory. International services will be subject to competitive tender, and NS will not have preferential treatment.

  • While Dutch Transport Minister Mrs Tineke Netelenbos was wrestling with this novel approach to high speed rail operations, her French counterpart Jean-Claude Gayssot was busy dreaming up plans for more TGV services. Latest is a link between Roissy and Orly airports north and south of Paris. Not a bad idea, except that it calls for passengers to change to the OrlyVAL peoplemover at an interchange near Rungis, no doubt wasting much of the time gained by whizzing round Paris.