High-speed line south: a report in images
The Court of Audit has issued several reports in recent years on the problems surrounding the construction and operation of the High-Speed Line South (HSL South) railway between Amsterdam and Brussels. We have drawn on our audits to prepare a report presenting the HSL South project in images. We hope the report will assist the Fyra parliamentary inquiry committee. The committee has been established to determine why there is still no efficient passenger transport on the HSL South line 20 years after the decision was taken to build it.
The government took the decision to build the HSL South railway line connecting the Netherlands with the European high-speed rail network in 1994. But the construction of an efficient passenger transport system on the HSL South line has proved more difficult than initially thought. The many problems that have arisen have caused long delays. The final phase of this long and complex project has still not been completed. One of the latest setbacks dates from 2013, when the high-speed V250 (Fyra) trains displayed serious problems and were taken out of service after just a few months’ operation.
The House of Representatives decided to conduct a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the problems surrounding the Fyra trains on the HSL South in December 2013. The inquiry has already started. Its main question is why has the transport originally intended on the HSL South not been realised. Our report in images is intended primarily to support the inquiry committee.
Content of the report
Our report literally gives a picture of the HSL South project, compiled from the audits we have carried out of the HSL South in recent years. Our publications on the HSL South have considered each phase of the project as it was completed: the tendering procedure, construction and preparation for operation. In the latest report we look at the operation of the line and the various roles played by the Dutch State. The report is divided into seven parts. Part 1 summarises our publications on the HSL South and other rail-related audits. Part 2 presents key figures on the HSL South, such as the route, the project budget, the different parts of the HSL South (the substructure, the superstructure, transport) and the related contracts with market parties such as the High Speed Alliance and Infraspeed. Part 3 considers the main players in the HSL South project, paying particular attention to the various roles played by the Dutch State. Parts 4 to 7 take a closer look at some of the State’s roles. In particular, we look at the State as concession awarder, the State as a signatory to the contract with Infraspeed, the State as a partner of Belgium and the State as a shareholder in Dutch Rail.
Response of the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment
We received a response to our report from the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment (I&M) and the Minister of Finance on 26 June 2014. With reference to the foreword, in which we express the hope that the report will help the Fyra inquiry committee’s work, the State Secretary writes the she will give the committee complete freedom to form its own opinion. For this reason and the fact that the report does not contain conclusions and recommendations, she therefore sees no cause to comment further on the report. We agree with the State Secretary and await the findings of the Fyra inquiry committee.