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Route considerations

Integration is a key concept on the Netherland's High Speed Line. This covers several areas: bringing together the various parts of the project organisation, ensuring that the HSL works as a transportation scheme, and that the various contracts fit together.

New lines and upgrading will connect the Netherlands into the European high-speed rail network in 2005. Trains will run at up to 300km/h, giving a three hour journey from Amsterdam to Paris. The route will run from Amsterdam and the airport via Rotterdam and Breda to the Dutch-Belgian border serving international and domestic traffic. Its sister project, High-Speed Train East, will link with Germany.

The final route decision for HSL was taken last year, tying it to an alignment within a couple of metres horizontally. The 'appeals court' is currently completing its work, checking on procedures and resolving objections. Conclusions are expected in a few weeks time, which should free the way for the start of construction.

Minimising environmental impact is a priority. One solution is to 'bundle' road and rail routes together, avoiding fragmentation of the landscape. Works to both the A16 and A4 roads are included in the HSL project, relocating a section of the A16 and upgrading it from dual two to dual three lanes.

The HSL Project Organisation is responsible for bringing about the construction and operation of the line. Within this, Dutch Railways Rail Infrastructure Management (NS-RIB), Holland Railconsult and DHV Environment & Infrastructure work closely under the Ministry of Transport, Public Works & Water Management and the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning & the Environment.

Other specialist consultants are lending experience of the UK's Private Finance Initiative to the privately funded contract, among them Booz.Allen Hamilton for performance and design issues, Greenwich NatWest for finance and Cameron McKenna for legal advice.

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