The tendering process is being managed by The Hague Trains Holding, a limited company registered in the Netherlands which is wholly owned by the municipality of The Hague. The company will award the contract on behalf of the 'tendering authority' and the deadline for submission of offers is April 19.
The tender calls for the operation of 16 return services per day between the two cities, with intermediate stops at Delft, Rotterdam, Dordrecht, Roosendaal, Antwerpen, Mechelen, Brussels Zaventem Airport, Brussel North and Brussels Central. The winning bidder will begin commercial operations on December 15 and the contract will run for four years.
The Hague Trains Holding will be responsible for negotiating paths with Dutch infrastructure manager Prorail and its Belgian counterpart Infrabel. The financial risk of operating the service will fall on the train operator as The Hague Trains Holding intends to provide little or no financial support for the services.
The Hague has long-held ambitions for direct trains to Brussels, and the city council has the support of other towns on the route not served by the currently-suspended Fyra service. Indeed, representatives of the city council have already held discussions with six potential operators. With the liberalisation of cross-border services under European law, the city is now able to explore launching a service without the support of Netherlands Railways (NS) or Belgian National Railways (SNCB).
The Hague lost all of its remaining international services following the launch of the full Fyra service between Amsterdam and Brussels in December.