The Public Transport Future Vision 2040 plan is effectively an extension of the high-frequency inter-city concept introduced on the Amsterdam - Utrecht - Eindhoven corridor in December 2017.

By 2040, the high-frequency ‘ring’ will encompass the Randstad conurbation, which includes Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, as well as the cities of Zwolle, Arnhem, Nijmegen, Eindhoven and Breda.

The government says the plan has been developed in response to the forecast 30-40% increase in public transport demand in urban areas over the next 20 years.

All eight of the major stations in the ring will be developed as public transport hubs with the aim of improving connections between modes.

The plan was welcomed by Mr Pier Eringa, CEO of infrastructure manager ProRail, although he called on politicians to be more ambitious and set a target of 2030 for the completion of the high-frequency ring, reflecting the increase in both rail and road traffic anticipated over the next decade.

High-speed line to Germany?

Van Veldhoven says the train must be the clear option for travel to neighbouring countries by 2040 and the government is particularly keen to improve links with Germany. “From Rotterdam you are already in the centre of Paris in three hours,” van Veldhoven says. “What is missing is a fast and high-quality rail connection with our most important trading partner.”

The state secretary says she wants to study how the Randstad can be connected to the German high-speed network and plans to discuss the issue with the new EU transport commissioner later this year.

Van Veldhoven says the Randstad should be connected to London and Paris with hourly high-speed services by 2040, with half-hourly trains to Brussels.