Dutch High Speed Rail Link

Financing, construction and operation of high-speed rail link


One of the largest ever Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects in the Netherlands, the Dutch High Speed Rail Link provides a high-speed connection between Schiphol Airport and the Belgian border.

HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd (HICL) owns a 43% equity stake in the project, reflecting a preference for long term, concession-style PPP contracts. As investment manager to HICL, InfraRed is actively managing the project over a 25-year contract covering the provision of track, noise-reduction technology, signalling, power distribution and a communication system.

25 year



approx. length of track

Train at nighttime
Train from overhead

The backdrop

In 2001, the Government of the Netherlands gave the green light to a consortium led by InfraRed for the financing, construction and operation of a new c.100km high-speed rail link. Connecting Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and the Belgian border, the aim was to reduce journey times by half.

The challenges

With 7kms of track running through the Groene Hart (Green Heart) of Holland, we had to ensure the preservation of a rural landscape known for its agriculture, nature and recreational activities. The answer came in the form of an underground tunnel to minimise the impact of trains passing through.

Extensive noise-reduction screens, meanwhile, not only protect the surrounding area from sound, but also feature a striped pattern to stop birds from inadvertently flying into them.

Creating real value

The HSL Zuid project, as it is known locally, was successfully completed on time and on budget in December 2006.

As part of our role as HICL's investment manager, InfraRed's asset management team is working to maximise the value throughout the project’s lifespan. A pro-active, hands-on approach and strong, long-term relationships with our partners keep everything, quite literally, on track. This includes regular visits by our Asset Managers who look at health and safety and predictive maintenance in particular.

The success of the state-of-the-art track is supported by initiatives such as an Assurance Committee, tasked to ensure the rail link preserves the highest standards of reliability, availability, maintenance and safety.

“Managing an investment in an asset of this complexity brings challenges but is also highly rewarding. Being able to harness the necessary safety, technical, operational and relationship management to ensure a successful outcome is an ongoing process achieved with the pro-active engagement of the team.” Robert Newton
InfraRed Asset Manager

At a glance

Country The Netherlands
Sector Transportation
Project Capital Cost over £600m
Investment Date by HICL 2006
Concession Length 25 years
Asset Overview High speed railway between Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and the Belgian border