17 February 2019
This weekend, under contract to ProRail, we started working on the Groningen Spoorzone [Railway Zone] project.
This first step makes the construction site in Haren accessible. We are activating a level crossing at the Rouaanstraat and are adding two switches. This way we will soon be able to reach De Vork by road as well as by track to construct the De Vork trainyard.
Tracks and Switches
Near Haren, in the municipality of Groningen, the tracks split up, going towards Winschoten in one direction and towards Assen in the other direction. It is precisely in this ‘vork’ [fork] that we are building a new large trainyard. This weekend we started work on installing switches and tracks in the trainyard. We are first installing a ballast bed, over 70 cm high across its entire length and width. In addition, we will be activating a level crossing that will provide construction traffic and personnel safe access to the site.
“It is a rare concurrence in the Netherlands for us to construct new tracks, let alone all at once in such a large complex. Furthermore, we will be building it during daytime. We generally work at night, when the trains are not driving.”
Erik van Blokland, Project Manager Strukton Rail Nederland
ProRail on the trainyard: “Today, the area looks like a moonscape with stones and 320,000 cubic metres of trucked-in sand. However, in the future De Vork will have 11 kilometres of tracks and 40 switches, equipped with hyper-modern automated controls. The trainyard will provide space for more than 60 trains (118 NS boxes and 68 Arriva boxes).
Travelling more easily and in greater comfort to and from the city of Groningen and the northern provinces – this is what the Groningen Spoorzone [Railway Zone] project is all about. Modifications to the tracks and stations between Haren and Groningen will ensure that passengers can reach their destination by train, bus, bike, and on foot, comfortably, fast and easily in the future as well. ProRail, the Province of Groningen, the municipality of Groningen, the Dutch National Railways (NS) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works are working together to successfully complete this project. The project forms part of the Northern Netherlands Railway Plan. As a result of this plan, the travel options by train in the north will significantly increase. This will create faster connections in the region and to the Randstad.