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National Coordinator of Counterterrorism - Articles and news items

Hanzelijn makes the Netherlands even smaller

Issue 1 2013 / 20 February 2013 /

“The Netherlands, here you are” were proud words of the 2012 Dutch Olympic gold medallist Ranomi Kromowidjojo. ProRail can also use the same words when speaking about the Hanzelijn – the newest railway track that the railway manager has built between Lelystad and Zwolle – we are proud of the result.

After the Betuweroute (the freight railway line between Rotterdam and the German border) and the high-speed rail link South (from Amsterdam to the south), the Hanzelijn is the third, and the last for the time being, new large track that was added to the Dutch railway network. Queen Beatrix opened the line on 6 December 2012. From 9 December 2012, the new railway line has been included in the new timetable of transporter NS. ProRail is manager and owner of the railway system in the Netherlands that now covers over 7,000km.

The new track is 50km-long and it was constructed for three main purposes; for better opening-up of the region; for better connection between the north of the country and the region of Amsterdam; and to meet the increasing numbers of railway travellers. Groningen is now 15 minutes closer to Schiphol. One might say: The Netherlands has become a little bit smaller than it used to be. The railway has partly been built on ‘new land’ at the bottom of the former Zuiderzee. Residents and municipalities along the track see opportunities for new regionaleconomic development.

By the book

The line aims to transport 32,000 travellers from 2013. Besides, the Hanzelijn contributes to meeting the increase of mobility on the railway.

Without this new track substantial capacity expansion would have been required on the track of the existing Veluwelijn (Amersfoort- Zwolle). Transport flows from the north can now be spread over two lines which makes the total system less vulnerable.

As far as we are concerned, the Hanzelijn is a railway by the book. Smooth as a billiard cloth, with no level crossings, equipped with ERTMS and suitable for trains to travel on at up to speeds of 200km/h on this section. We have built two beautiful new stations; a splendid vivid red design bridge over the IJssel River and a tunnel under the Dronten Lake nature reserve. We have built the entire line with 88 construction works within the set time and well within budget.

Project management

How did we manage this? When we say that we are proud of the Hanzelijn, we mean, perhaps, that we are particularly proud of the way in which we have constructed it. At the beginning of this millennium, we developed a lot of knowledge and skills in the area of project management when building the Betuweroute; we worked with Design and Construction (D&C) contracts for the first time. This was successful, as the Betuweroute is a great example of a successful infrastructural construction project from an international point of view.

We have continued this learning curve. Professionals involved in the construction of the Betuweroute have spread over various infrastructural projects in the Netherlands, including the Hanzelijn. I happen to be one of them myself. The art is in the transfer of knowledge and experience to new projects, enabling the society to optimally benefit from the experience gained.

This starts with setting up the project organisation. In fact, we divided the organisation, which included approximately 50 people, into two parts: A Project Management Department in the Head Office in Utrecht and an On-Site Construction Management Department in Kampen. In this way, project management was close to the management and exploitation departments that had to take over the railway after construction. This made the mutual alignment easier. In this way, construction management could focus better on the actual construction work. People who functioned on the construction work were not distracted by all kinds of social and political discussions that always happen during such a process. The one department was directed towards the building site, the other towards society. An effective model is established when one succeeds in making those two departments cooperate well.

Developing key standards for rail security at ProRail

Issue 1 2013 / 20 February 2013 /

ProRail, the Dutch Rail Infrastructure Manager has recently developed standards for rail security: risk based, all hazard and fit for an open system. What were the considerations to develop a dedicated set of standards, which methodology is used and what will be the way forward?

The government policy for rail security in the Netherlands is to integrate safety and security. This government policy was published in 2010 and is valid for the period until 20202. The security approach was developed in cooperation between the government and the railway sector. The policy focuses on common principles, a common methodology, clear responsibilities of the government and the railway sector and specific targets for the period until 2015. An evaluation in 2015 could lead to additional targets for both government and the railway sector.

A national policy was developed because there is no European or international legislation for railway security. Specific standards are not available. There was a need to clarify positions and expectations of the government and the railway sector. The legislation and standards for maritime and aviation security are not fit for use for railways because of major differences: an open (rail) versus closed system (maritime and aviation), essential differences in the processes and of course differences in hazards and threats, in type of incidents and in responsibilities. The policy supports the railways in focusing their approach for security. They do not prescribe what to do in terms of measures.

The approach on security was mainly focused on specific incidents that will cause disruptions within operations. Compared to other types of hazards, security does not score high in terms of probability and effects. Therefore the focus on security was limited. Hazards and threats were managed from a practical point of view. The approach is not based on a specific methodology. Managing security is purely seen as a major cost driver for the organisation. There is awareness of positive long-term effects in terms of reduction of dispunctuality, customer satisfaction for staff, passengers and shippers. In the short-term, the effects on investment might look substantial. If the implementation is spread over one or two decades the costs for an integrated security approach are relative.

The development of a national security policy started after the National Coordinator of Counterterrorism launched its National Alert System. This system is focused on the protection of the most risk full objects in vital sectors against terrorism. Vital objects in the Dutch Rail Infrastructure became part of this alert system3. The principle behind the system is simple. It concentrates on four levels of preparation: baseline and three threat levels: light, medium and high. For all of these levels it is expected that vital infrastructures should prepare appropriate measures. The measures in one of the three threat levels are related to the type of attacks that were expected. But how are these baselines defined? And, after being prepared for the three threat levels, the question had to be answered: is only a focus on low probability/high effects incidents (i.e. terrorism and sabotage) enough? What is really needed for the preparation of all kinds of security hazards and threats?

The first step was to define security: “All measures and features to protect the assets against identified security threats and incidents, caused by human behaviour and acting, that can possibly affect the state, nature or functionality of any object, process, policy, information or integrity of staff.” We do realise that this is quite a broad definition. In fact it is all about “human behaviour, conscious or unconscious, that can affect the rail system in any way”. This definition includes, for example, suicides and also intentional behaviour to cause damage.

The second step was to make the Board aware of the level of risk of the different security hazards. This was ensured by an integrated risk management process based on Enterprise Risk Management. All types of security incidents were plotted in a risk matrix and scored in green, yellow or red. Based on the principles behind the safety and security management system (SMS) red risks should have the attention of the Board, yellow risks should be solved by the business units and green risks can be part of the continuous improvement in the daily process. We realised that the management of security hazards differs from safety management. If the focus is only on one specific ‘red’ risk and not on the other security risks, inefficiency and ineffectiveness can be the result. An integrated approach focused on the implementation of lines of defence for all identified security incidents for the different types of assets promises to be more effective and efficient. We developed a matrix for all different types of assets within the responsibility of the Rail Infrastructure Manager to have an overview of these types of risks.