June 1, 2000

Cost benefit analysis of high speed rail infrastructure

The Dutch government is considering the construction of a High Speed Rail (HSR) section, the HSL-Oost, between Utrecht and the German border, as a part of the HSR-link connecting Schiphol Amsterdam Airport with the German Ruhrgebiet.

This working-paper presents a cost-benefit analysis of the construction of the railway section. The cost-benefit analysis (CBA) closely followed the guidelines for project evaluation that have been worked out by a number of economic research institutes within the OEEI project (CPB/NEI, 2000).

The economic effects of this project appear to be rather small. This is due mainly to the limited savings in travel time. As a result, a new railway seems to be unprofitable in the circumstances analysed. The base-case, or no-build option, is preferable. In the base-case, many benefits can be reaped when high-speed rolling stock is used on conventional track.

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