In this context, the German MEP Matthias Groote strives to organize a major conference regarding the future of the destroyed railway bridge in the small town of Weener (Germany).

“I would very much like to get all parties involved with the railway line together at the shortest possible notice”, says Groote. “By the end of this week, we shall know which parties at the very least should participate in our talks. ”

Groote is a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and a major advocate of Wunderline. This is a fast train connection between the cities of Groningen and Bremen, to which the province of Groningen is also firmly committed.

Groote is afraid that the reconstruction of the Friesenbrücke over the Ems River shall take far too long and that it shall be done lacking forward-looking vision, unless the parties involved let their voices be heard. “The future of the railway line is of concern to the railway companies, municipalities, regions, the Land Niedersaksen and the province of Groningen. Together they should determine the future of the railway line and ensure that the new bridge is built in accordance with the plans for the new railway line. What at all costs should be avoided is that a third independent party is allowed to replace the bridge with one similar to the old one. The new bridge should be able to last at least the next 40 years.”

Groote, who lives in the small town of Ostrhauderfehn near the city of Leer, is supported in this by his fellow party member and countryman Johanne Modder from the small town of Bunde, the local SPD chairman in Niedersaksen. “However, this situation definitely supersedes party politics. We are addressing this just as one of the parties involved.”

The accident with the bridge last Thursday, which has left it total loss, is a big blow to the railway line. The railway section Groningen-Leer was really booming, even to the extent that Arriva was planning on also running trains every hour on Sundays as from next week.

Last week at the opening of a Deutsche Bahn service desk at Groningen, Arriva Managing Director Henk Feijen and Provincial Executive Fleur Gameh (D66) were still able to refer to the huge estimated increase of travellers, without specifying any exact numbers by the way.
This Wiederline was intended to attract passengers in the run-up to a through-connection to the cities of Oldenburg and Bremen.

Now it appears that the plans for the new railway line will have to be initiated from scratch again. Groote remains convinced of the economic significance of the Wunderline for the region. In his opinion, more support for the line could be generated by establishing new railway stations in the cities of Bunde and Ihrhove as well as simultaneously reducing noise nuisance along the whole railway line.

The Groninger Mp Betty de Boer (VVD) has called upon Secretary of State Sharon Dijksma (PvdA) to initiate a strong lobby for a new railway bridge. Questions have been asked by the VVD-fraction of the Provincial Council in the province of Groningen about the economic consequences of the accident for Groningen region. Council Member Laura Delacruz (VVD) warns the province not to be too keen on offering extra financial support. “We must also take into account that there are also alternative means of transport such as Flixbus.”

Source: Frits Poelman Dagblad van het Noorden

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