Audit of High Speed Rail Link South started

The Court of Audit has started its previously announced audit of the High Speed Rail Link South

The audit is designed to gain a better understanding of the part played by the State, especially in the operation of the line. It will focus on the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M), which granted the concession, concluded the management and maintenance contract for the line and conducted the necessary negotiations with Belgium, and the role of the Ministry of Finance, because the State is a shareholder in the national rail operator, Dutch Rail (NS). Operation of HSL South has been awarded to HSA, a subsidiary of NS and KLM.

The Court of Audit published an audit report entitled HSL South Risk Management in June 2007. The high speed rail link between Amsterdam and Brussels was not in operation when that audit was carried out. The audit report refers to the risks inherent in operating the international rail link. The Netherlands has invested more than €7 billion in the infrastructure. HSL South is now in use, although operation is far from smooth, partly because of problems with the Frya trains. New financial agreements have been made with the Ministry of I&M to overcome the operational problems. The Ministry of Finance is also involved in the agreements. These setbacks are having a negative impact on NS's operating profit and the dividend it pays to the State and on the fee HSA pays to the State to use the line. The Court of Audit and its Belgian counterpart consulted each other to discuss cooperation in this present audit following the latter's decision in October not to audit the Frya trains. Talks have also been held with the House of Representatives' temporary commission that made preparations for the parliamentary inquiry into the Frya trains. The structure of the Court of Audit's audit has been coordinated with the structure agreed by the House of Representative on 19 December 2013 for the parliamentary inquiry into the Frya trains. The Court of Audit expects to publish its findings in mid-June 2014.

The letter is only in Dutch available.