Flanders and North-Rhine Westphalia take Rhein-Ruhr-Rail Connection to decision level

Wednesday 21 03 2018

Flemish minister of Mobility Ben Weyts and his opposite number in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst, are working on a collaboration agreement for mobility and freight transport between the Flemish ports and the NRW region. By taking this matter up at a political level they hope at last to make an effective breakthrough in the thorny question of the Rhein-Ruhr-Rail Connection.

Rhine-Ruhr Rail Connection

The rail connection between the port of Antwerp and the Ruhr area in Germany (the Iron Rhine) has a long and troubled history of varying proposals for a route and many discussions at technical and administrative level. After many years of impasse a breakthrough was made at the beginning of this year following a feasibility study on the Rhine-Ruhr-Rail Connection (3RX) that revealed a more than positive cost/benefit result. The 3RX route runs from Antwerp via Mol and Hamont to Roermond and Venlo in the Netherlands and then on to Viersen in Germany.

Three-country negotiations

Weyts and Wüst now plead for three-way negotiations between the Belgian federal government, the Netherlands and the German federal government. "After much study work at technical level a consensus proposal has now emerged, namely that it is time to take the matter to a political level," they declare. Once the political discussions get under way it should be possible to overcome the remaining obstacles and to finally get this old dossier moving once more. Weyts and Wüst intend to seek support from the European Commission in this matter, given the importance of the project for European mobility.