Rail transport

Port of Amsterdam is well equipped for rail transport with multiple connections, including to the Betuwelijn  and ensuring efficient accessibility to the European hinterland.

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Well equipped

Spoor Jan Hoogland


Well equipped for rail transport

The port of Amsterdam is well served with multiple rail connections, ensuring efficient accessibility to the European hinterland. From the Amsterdam port region four million tonnes of cargo is transported by train each year. The cargo varies from coke, coal, steel and recycling products to containers carrying cocoa. The port has its own marshalling yards and connections to main liner services.

Connected to the Betuwelijn

The port of Amsterdam is connected to the 'Betuwelijn'. The Betuwelijn is a freight only rail shuttle link between the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and the rest of Europe, offering a direct and non-stop connection with the European hinterland. Port of Amsterdam encourages the environmentally friendly rail freight transport and is working with partners to establish more cost-effective and sufficiently frequent train connections from the Amsterdam port region.

Betuwe line: need for an extension

Seventy percent of all freight trains travelling between the Netherlands and Germany currently use the Betuwe line – a number that is only set to increase in the future. By 2023, a total of 160 trains will use the new third track to cross the border into Germany.

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A total of four million tonnes of freight are shipped by rail annually to and from the Amsterdam region. This freight ranges from steel and recycling products to containers filled with cocoa and other commodities. The Betuwe line, a double-track freight railway which runs from the Port of Rotterdam to the Dutch-German border (terminating in the Dutch town of Zevenaar), is a key gateway for freight transport into Europe.

Amsterdam is connected to the Betuwe line through the town of Geldermalsen. The Betuwe line provides rail freight transport companies a direct, non-stop connection to the European hinterland. In order to be able to use the Betuwe line even more efficiently in the future, the railway infrastructure between the German towns of Emmerich and Oberhausen will be upgraded, with a third track set to be added.

For more information please download the brochure 'Better connection from the Betuweroute to Oberhausen Germany is building a third track. What does this mean for the Netherlands?'. The brochure is available in Dutch and German as well. You will find more information about the railway works to be carried out on this page.

Works performed on German third track

Germany will see the construction of 70 kilometres of new railway track between the towns of Emmerich and Oberhausen in North-Rhine Westphalia. In addition, the German rail operator will be upgrading 11 railway stations and 47 viaducts and bridges. These German works are scheduled to start in 2016 and to be completed by 2023.

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Works carried out in the Netherlands

An additional three kilometres of railway track is to be constructed between the Dutch town of Zevenaar and the German border, resulting in separate tracks for freight trains and passenger trains. At the same time, the tracks, switches and overhead lines will be prepared to accommodate larger volumes of railway transport. The works will start this year and scheduled to be completed in 2017.

For a detailed description of the works involved on the Betuwe line, please visit http://www.prorail.nl/projecten/derde-spoor-duitsland 

Measures to limit inconvenience

Freight trains will be given every leeway on the track while the works are ongoing. Port of Amsterdam is a member of a steering committee which has implemented several measures so far, including:

Diversion to border crossing at Venlo, Oldenzaal and Herzogenrath

Trains will be diverted in order to cross the border at Venlo in Limburg province or Oldenzaal in Overijssel province. In order to ensure that the border crossing is accessible, there will be sufficient space available between Deventer and Oldenzaal to accommodate freight trains. Opportunities are currently being explored to adjust the railway near Herzogenrath in order to allow freight trains to cross the border. Hazardous substances will be transported across the Betuwe line as much as possible.

More efficient use of railway’s capacity

The space available on the railway track during construction will be used as efficiently as possible. Under regular circumstances, 75 percent of the available railway capacity is used, with the remaining capacity serving as back-up in order to keep trains running as much as possible in the event of malfunctions (including emergencies and defective trains). A number of smart measures ensure that this percentage can be raised to 87.5 percent during diversions, without the reliability of the timetables being jeopardised.

Information for residents

The area’s residents will be affected by the works carried out on the third track in a number of ways. Measures implemented in order to ensure the safety of local residents and keep any inconvenience caused by noise pollution and vibrations to a minimum will be announced at the following link: http://www.prorail.nl/projecten/derde-spoor-duitsland and on the website of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment: http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/goederenvervoer/betere-aansluiting-betuweroute. Further information about the measures taken in each area is also available on the websites of the local authorities.

Partnership programme between Port of Amsterdam, Port of Rotterdam and ProRail

Merger of ProRail and Keyrail operations on 1 July 2015; launch of partnership programme between Port of Amsterdam, Port of Rotterdam and ProRail.

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Dutch rail companies ProRail and Keyrail combined their operations as of 1 July 2015. Formerly, there were two companies charged with coordinating railway transport: one to manage and operate the Betuwe line freight railway tracks (Keyrail) and one to manage the Dutch railway network, which accommodates both passenger transport and freight transport (ProRail).

As of 1 July 2015, Keyrail merged its operations with ProRail, and the latter currently serves as a single point of contact for freight transport companies and shippers. They can contact the company to request additional capacity for freight transport and negotiate operating fees for the track sections they use as part of the Dutch railway network as a whole.

Following the Keyrail-ProRail merger, Port of Amsterdam, Port of Rotterdam and ProRail set out to launch a rail freight transport partnership, in which the partners work together on developing efficient, competitive, reliable and flexible railway freight services. ProRail and the two port authorities regard each other as partners when it comes to boosting the growth of rail freight transport in the Netherlands. The objective of the partnership is to carry out projects that contribute to effective rail freight transport products, facilitate and stimulate growth, and in doing so, strengthen the positions of the ports, the railway transport sector and the Dutch business community.


Direct contact with our experts

For questions, wishes or more information on rail transport

Rob Smit

Rob Smit

Commercial Division
Manager Hinterland
Team Marketing & Product Development
Tel: +31 6 226 96 769
E-mail: rob.smit@portofamsterdam.com