DUTCH CONTRACTORS could construct Europe's first intercity maglev train link for the 180km Zuiderzeelijn highspeed connection between Amsterdam and Groningen in Holland.
The Dutch government plans to invite private consortia to submit plans for either a magnetically levitated link or a more conventional high-speed rail line.
Consortia will be expected to submit plans for design, construction, financing, maintenance and operation.
Five pre-qualified groups will be commissioned to develop their proposals and according to the Ministry of Transport, Public Works & Water Management, it expects to take forward at least one maglev solution.
A government spokeswoman said a maglev link would be faster. With extremely rapid acceleration and deceleration, it offers more opportunities to create stops.
A maglev can also be constructed with less land take, requires lighter weight structures and is visually less intrusive.
Set against this, the cost is likely to be higher and a maglev link would not connect directly to the Dutch and European highspeed rail network.
The government expects to start construction of the Zuiderzeelijn in 2010.
Efforts to build maglev lines between Hamburg and Berlin and between Dortmund and Dusseldorf in Germany have been blocked by environmentalists. However, a 37km link between Munich airport and the city centre is set to go ahead in 2009.