Cross-border railway connections often date back for decades, but it takes “centuries” before those railway lines can be upgraded or renewed. Enschede (NL) – Münster (D), Groningen (NL) – Bremen (D), Hengelo (NL) – Bad Bentheim / Bielefeld (D) are all appropriate examples. There are many barriers to constructive cross-border cooperation: lack of political support, technical differences in train systems, different priorities with national and regional authorities and the cost of financing all this.
I chaired the 10th anniversary meeting of the railway connection Enschede – Münster. I was actively involved in the process of implementing the Hengelo – Bad Bentheim connection. In a few years there will even be a Hengelo – Bielefeld connection.
In order to achieve this result a large amount of energy, knowledge and perseverance is required. Intensive cross-border communication with ministries and provinces and also cross-border cooperation within Germany, between North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony. A long-term process. But the final result is that trains are operating across the border!