The line is used by Zwolle - Leeuwarden (two trains per hour), Zwolle - Groningen (four trains per hour) and Zwolle - Emmen (two trains per hour) passenger services as well as freight trains.

The flat junction at Herfte, where the line to Emmen diverges from the Leeuwarden/Groningen line, is an operational bottleneck and a dive-under will be constructed to segregate the two lines.

Two additional tracks will be constructed between Herfte and the approach to Zwolle station, which is a major hub on the Dutch network, enabling Emmen and Leeuwarden/Groningen trains to run on separate tracks.

Level crossings on the quadrupled section will be replaced by overpasses and a new four-track concrete bridge over the Soestwetering and Zalnese Wetering waterways will replace the existing steel structure.

The project, which is due to be completed in 2021, is part of the Spoorplan Noord- Nederland programme agreed between the Dutch government and the regions in the north of the Netherlands following the cancellation of the Lelystad - Heerenveen - Groningen Zuiderzeelijn line in 2012.