“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.”

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