Dutch High Speed Rail Link

Key Data

Country:
The Netherlands
Sector:
Transportation
Project Value:
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

The story in stats

1st PPP

railway project in The Netherlands

25 year

concession

Accelerating Growth

One of the largest Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects signed to date in the Netherlands; the Dutch High Speed Rail Link provides a high-speed connection from Schiphol Airport to the Belgian border.

HICL Infrastructure Company Ltd (HICL) owns a 43% equity stake in the project, which illustrates its preference for long term, concession style PPP contracts. InfraRed, in its capacity as investment adviser to HICL, actively manages the project for the remaining period of the 25 year contract. The contract covers the provision of track, noise-reduction technology, signalling, power distribution and a communication system.

Background

In 2001, The Netherland’s Government awarded the InfraRed-led consortium the project for the financing, construction and operation of a new, c.100km, high speed railway line between Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and the Belgian border. The aim of the project was to reduce journey times for passengers travelling between the Airport and the Belgian border by half.

The HSL Zuid project, as it is known locally, was successfully developed by the InfraRed Infrastructure team with the construction completed on time and on budget in December 2006.

A key consideration in the building of the track was the 7kms running through the “Green Heart” area of Holland. The Groene Hart is characterized by its rural landscape and is recognised for its agriculture, nature and the recreational activities it provides. In order to preserve this prime area of countryside, an underground tunnel was built to minimise the impact of any trains as they passed through.

To aid noise-reduction extensive noise screens were put in place. The screens chosen have stripes rather than being completely clear in order to protect birds from inadvertently flying into them.
In 2006, HICL, a FTSE 250 company launched by InfraRed, acquired the investment as part of its initial public offering.


Creating Real Value

As part of our investment advisory role to HICL our asset management team ensures that the value created in this project is preserved throughout its life. In practice, this means working very closely with our project partners to ensure that the project runs smoothly and in accordance with the operating agreements in place.
Through pro-active management and the maintenance of good, long-term relationships we are able to make sure that everything is literally ‘on track’.

The state-of-the-art track, continues to be fit for purpose and we have put in place initiatives such as the project's Assurance Committee to ensure that the project adheres to the highest standards in terms of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety.

Our involvement with the project requires regular visits by our Asset Managers, with a strong focus on health and safety and predictive maintenance.

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 that is achieved with pro-active engagement of the team.

Robert Newton
InfraRed Asset Manager