ProRail awards Swietelsky with contract to electrify Maaslijn rail line

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ProRail, a Dutch government organization responsible for the maintenance and extension of the national railway network, has announced that railroad construction firm Swietelsky Rail Benelux has been awarded the contract to electrify the 88km Maaslijn railway line.

According to ProRail, Swietelsky won the European tender and will start work on the electrification and partial doubling of the track between Nijmegen and Roermond, with the project due for completion by the end of 2027.

Earlier this year, ProRail announced that it had stopped tenders for the Maaslijn project due to “a variety of challenges,” including escalating costs and problems with the availability of material due to the war in Ukraine.

Alongside electrification, the Maaslijn upgrade project will see an extra track constructed at four locations along the route, including Cuijk, Boxmeer, Venray and Reuver, meaning that oncoming trains will be able to pass each other.

Furthermore, curves in the track are being made wider in various places, so that trains can maintain their speed and no longer have to slow down. This allows the driving speed to increase from 100 to 140mk/h.

Arriva, which operates trains on the Maaslijn line, has plans to replace diesel trains with EMUs following the electrification project.

Dimitri Kruik, regional director at ProRail, said, “The upgrade of the Maaslijn is not only important for travelers, who will receive a faster and more comfortable train service, but also for a more sustainable and modern railway. With Swietelsky we believe we have a reliable party to build this with us from 2024. A great milestone for all parties who have been preparing for this project for years.” 

ProRail has now confirmed that Swietelsky submitted a robust plan for the project, which looks at costs and capacity. In Swietelsky’s proposal the firm also considers the environment and includes plans to keep noise and emissions as low as possible during construction.

The latter is important given that ProRail has recently signed the Clean and Zero-Emission Construction (SEB) covenant in the Netherlands, which aims to achieve a 60% nitrogen reduction, 75% health gain, and 0.4 Mt CO2 reduction in construction by 2030. And by 2050, construction materials need to be completely emission-free. 

Mirjam van Velthuizen, chief financial officer at ProRail, adds, “Emission-free construction is important to make the railway even more sustainable. We will see this reflected in our tenders soon. In addition, it ensures that we are good neighbors. By using emission-free equipment, people who live close to construction projects experience less nuisance from noise and exhaust fumes, among other things.”