Additional track for the Betuwe Route between Zevenaar and Oberhausen

The connection between the Betuwe Route and the German rail network will be improved. An additional, third track will be built along the line between Zevenaar and Oberhausen (Germany) , allowing more trains to run on the line. This third track will be completed in 2026 at the earliest.

More freight trains due to expansion of the Betuwe Route

Transport on the Betuwe Route has increased in recent years. The expectation is that this upward trend will continue in the years ahead. Therefore, Germany agreed to improve the connection of the Betuwe Route to the German rail network: a third track is needed between the Dutch/German border at Emmerich and Oberhausen. The building of a third track means that freight transport operators can run more freight trains on European freight corridors.

Emmerich-Oberhausen expansion work

The German railway network manager (DB Netz), has started construction works on the Emmerich-Oberhausen line in 2016. Indicative planning by DB Netz suggests that completion of the works will be in 2026 at the earliest.

The construction works consist of the following components:

  • laying a third track of 70 km and a fourth track of 3 km;
  • constructing 74 km of noise barriers;
  • upgrading 11 stations;
  • constructing or modifying 47 overpasses and bridges;
  • replacing 55 level crossings with 38 flyover crossings.

Adjustments to train traffic during the works

How can freight transport to and from the Dutch ports via the Betuwe Route continue to run as smoothly as possible while construction works are being carried out limiting the availability of the Zevenaar/Emmerich border crossing? The question was considered by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management together with the stakeholders. As a result, measures have been taken to deviate trains via other routes without increasing nuisance for people living along these tracks.

The measures include:

  • redirecting freight trains via alternative diversionary routes:
    • trains to central and southern Germany and Italy should use the rail border crossing at Venlo if possible;
    • trains to eastern and northern Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe/China should use the border crossing at Oldenzaal if possible.
  • trains containing hazardous substances should use the Betuwe Route as much as possible.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has adjusted the rules for capacity allocation so that the alternative routes can cope with more freight trains, when deviations are necessary. It has also taken steps to optimise the use of existing infrastructure. For instance, railway network manager ProRail will not carry out maintenance activities during periods that trains are being redirected.