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Freight rail undertakings wish to have priority on the railway network more often

Freight rail undertakings believe they are discriminated against on the railway network. This has been revealed by the sixth edition of the Rail Monitor of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). They feel that Dutch network infrastructure manager ProRail often gives priority to passenger rail traffic over freight rail traffic. When ProRail carries out maintenance work on railway sections, too, it is often freight rail traffic that suffers. Maintenance work is mostly carried out at night, which is usually the time when freight trains run. As a result, these trains need to make a detour, thus arriving too late, thereby driving up the costs for freight rail undertakings.

Under the Dutch Railway Act, everyone must have equal access to the railway infrastructure. “As the capacity of the railway infrastructure is limited, tensions exist between freight rail traffic, passenger rail traffic, and maintenance. Capacity must therefore be allocated in a fair manner,” says Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM. “If certain rail undertakings feel they are discriminated against, they can report such situations with us. ACM has the power to settle these types of disputes.”

The Rail Monitor additionally revealed that the railway infrastructure has been utilized better in the past few years. One of the reasons is that the operating performance, in terms of train kilometers, of Dutch Railways NS, the railway undertaking on the main railway network in the Netherlands, and of the regional rail undertakings such as Arriva and Veolia has improved.


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