The €45m transaction does not include the city's light rail infrastructure, which remains entirely under municipal ownership, and the transfer of shares is still subject to final approval by the city council.

NS and HTM say that by joining forces they expect to achieve closer integration of public transport in and around The Hague, and the partners have already drawn up a short and medium-term investment plan which includes projects with a total value of around €75m. These include the extension of light rail lines 11 and 17 to a new terminus at Strandweg and to the former Norfolk terminal at the port of Scheveningen.

NS is confident HTM Passenger Transport can win the concession to operate local rail services in The Hague, which is due to be tendered by the city council in 2016. The nine-year concession starts in 2017 and the operator could be selected directly or through a public tendering procedure.