ProRail and Arnhem-Nijmegen City Region are investigating the possibilities for improving the quality of cross-border public railway transport. These partners will conduct a feasibility study to include a business case into reopening the former rail corridor between Nijmegen in the Netherlands and Kleve in Germany. This line was closed in 1991, and there is now a bus connection between Kleve and Nijmegen, which is enjoying increasing patronage. Despite a long period of non-use, parts of the route are now used for tourism (it is possible to hire pedal-powered draisines in Groesbeek, Kranenburg and Kleve).

The feasibility of a new connection between the Kleve-Weeze railway line and Weeze Airport will also be investigated.

The reactivation of the route to Kleve also brings the Ruhr metropolitan area within closer range.

The project plan has been developed by ProRail and the Arnhem-Nijmegen City Region.

Various alternatives

Cross-border public transport means different things to different people. The study will develop three transport modes (tram, tram-train and Regional Express). Each mode will be developed further as an alternative.

  • Tram option: Trams that use their own line, with the possibility of integrating it with the proposed tram network to be developed in Nijmegen.
  • Tram-train option: Here tram-trains are operated that can use the 'heavy rail' infrastructure under certain conditions.
  • Regional Express: Some German stakeholders have already indicated that they are interested in extending the Düsseldorf-Kleve Regional Express to Nijmegen. This is a traditional heavy rail solution.

Certain variations are possible within these options. Ultimately, after a selection process, one variation per option will remain to be developed further (ready by Spring 2010). These alternatives will subsequently undergo further technical development. Finally, based on wide-ranging considerations, a recommendation will be made regarding which alternative is best suited to meet the wishes of the parties involved (ready in autumn 2010).

Various alternatives will be examined at the beginning of the study, which will then be developed further with regard to their transport value and technology. A preferred alternative will subsequently be chosen.

This work is an initial phase in a longer-term project to apply the tram-train concept in this context including:

  • Determination of the required technical adaptations to the abandoned infrastructure
  • Study of the accommodation of the tram-train in the stations of Nijmegen and Kleve
  • Study of planning the upgrade of the section in phases according to administrative feasibility

Outputs will comprise:

  • A feasibility study report, containing a short list of possible tram-train concepts
  • A report containing the findings of the outline engineering and operational design
  • A report containing the outline business case and the preferred tram-train option
  • A report containing the outcome of the planning-in-phases study
  • An understanding and agreement, broadly communicated among local project partners and interested parties, that the preferred option will satisfy the current demand for mobility