The finance ministry’s concerns reflect the government’s need for revenues in order to help pay off its investment in the high-speed railway line. […]The Dutch state pays ProRail and Infraspeed about €10m per month to operate the line, which it expects to regain through payments from train companies that use the line, said Rob Goverde, a railway expert at Delft Technical University. The NS won the contract to operate Fyra in 2001 by offering to pay the state €167m per year, a bid considered far too high by independent experts, and which was sharply reduced last year when the Fyra appeared at risk of bankruptcy.If the service is cancelled entirely, or replaced by slower trains as is being discussed, the government may be stuck paying the most of the high-speed line’s bill for years.
This is an embarrassment for the countries involved, but it is also a bad sign for similar projects in the US. If high speed rail isn’t working in one of the most densely populated and affluent corridors on Earth, and if Europeans with decades of experience can’t keep the service running, what does this tell us about California’s chances?[A direct train departs from the Hague to Brussels. Commuters travel on the intercity train, which replaces the high-speed Fyra trains. The Fyra trains used between Amsterdam and Brussels have been out of function since January 17 due to safety issues. Photo courtesy of Getty Images]