Brussels contributes an extra 12.7 million euros to the Wunderline

Source: https://www.rtvnoord.nl/nieuws/213950/Brussel-trekt-nog-eens-12-7-miljoen-euro-uit-voor-Wunderline

The faster railway connection between Groningen and Bremen, the so-called Wunderline, can count on a financial contribution in the amount of 12.7 million euros by the European Commission.

Thanks to the Wunderline travelling time to Bremen can – in time – be reduced by half an hour.

Half an hour faster

This new European contribution is designated for the improvement of the railway stretch from Groningen – via Winschoten – to Leer. It will allow trains to reach (maximum) speeds of 130 kilometres per hour. In addition, extra noise protection and safety measures are to be taken.

Previous grant

This new European contribution is added to previous European funds in the amount of 8.3 million euros, granted by Brussels in 2015. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Province of Groningen have in total already provided over 100 million euros funding for the so-called Wunderline.

However, last June the Province of Groningen announced that 19.9 million euros of these funds shall be used to cover other financial deficits resulting from other rail expansion projects in the Province of Groningen.

November 2023

EU Commissioner Violeta Bulc (Transport) expects the go-ahead to be officially given in the near future. The project is scheduled to be completed by November 2023.

Gräper pleased with the 12.7 million ‘train’ euros: “More than we were hoping for”

Source: https://www.rtvnoord.nl/nieuws/213960/Graper-blij-met-Europese-treinmiljoenen-Meer-dan-we-hadden-gehoopt

“I’m very pleased with this grant, because it’s even a little more than we were hoping for”, she lets us know. “Because we only applied for 10 million euros. The funds are designated for the first phase of the Wunderline, which in total involves an investment of about 53 million euros.”

Overall costs of the project: 150 million euros

For the second and third phase, the Province of Groningen and the German Federated State of Lower Saxony intend to once again apply for European Union funding. The overall costs of the whole project are estimated to amount up to about 150 million euros. Over 85 million euros of this amount is covered by the Province of Groningen and 17 million euros by the Dutch central government, while the rest is to be funded by the rest of Europa and Germany.

Gräper also sees an increased enthusiasm for the realisation of the Wunderline on the other side of the border. “I do believe we have succeeded in turning the Wunderline into a real Dutch-German railway connection.”

The first phase in 2024

The first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2024, thus coinciding with the realisation of the new Friesenbrücke. “So far, it looks like we are indeed going to meet that deadline.”

The first part of the realisation shall mainly consist of upgrading the Groningen-Winschoten railway connection, though it is not expected to be ever fully operational – in terms of the railway line’s envisaged target speed – due to weak soil conditions. “Therefore, reaching speeds of 130 kilometres per hour shall regrettably only be possible on certain segments along this railway stretch. This shall therefore prove to remain quite a complex challenge.”