The Beneluxparliament consists of members of the national parliaments of Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands. The Beneluxparliament was convened in Maastricht on the 24th of November 2017 in the hall where the treaty of Maastricht was signed 25 years before. One of the items on the agenda was the improvement of the rail connections between the Beneluxcountries and the adjacent state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. With the financial support of the European Union the Eurekarail project has started. The purpose of Eurekarail is a direct electric rail service Aachen – Heerlen – Maastricht – Liége. It is a complicated project due to three different signaling-systems, three different electric current systems, three different national legislations on safety, three different languages and three different fare and ticketing systems.

I was asked to speak on behalf of the Belgian passengers’ organisations, Navetteurs and TreinTramBus, the German friends of ProBahn and my own Dutch organisation, Rover. I mentioned that exactly 60 years ago NMBS and NS started the frequent Beneluxservice from Brussels to Amsterdam. The Beneluxservice was from the start a tremendous succes. The Eurekaproject will be successful if the interests of the passengers are considered as the top priority in the development of the project. The Beneluxparliament passed a motion asking the national ministers to make the Eurekaproject a success.

An informal meeting took place after the formal meeting of the Beneluxparliament. In the informal meeting representatives of the railway companies, local and regional authorities discussed practical issues with representatives of TreinTramBus and Rover. The Eurekaproject is not the only one in that region. The abandoned railway line between Hasselt and Maastricht has been converted into a tram line. The closed railway line between Hamont (BE) and Weert (NL) will be reopened for passenger services and the rail connections between Eindhoven and Düsseldorf will be improved. This is all thanks to a continuous lobby of passengers’ organisations and politicians on the local, regional and national level in the three countries concerned.

Arriën Kruyt, chairman of Rover and Member of the Managment Board of EPF