A 2008 visualization of a tram through Leiden (Photo: South Holland Province).
The option to run trams from Leiden Central on the new central route via Leiden should be included in the explorations to be carried out in the near future around the Leiden station area. This is what Center Director Gijs Holla and Stadswide Director of Ondernemend Leiden Erwin Roodhart wrote in a letter to Traffic Board Member Ashley North.
The two organizations would also like to participate in Research and development, for which the government recently allocated 190 million euros. “We’d like to give you one important point of interest for the MIRT process,” Hola writes. “It should still be possible to build a tram line through the station area. The space around the station is already proliferating and any tunnels, bike sheds or new buildings must be planned and designed so that there is still enough space for the Leiden regional tram.”
Nico Tets, head of Ondernemend Leiden, believes that the construction of the tram line can become an essential part of providing good access to Leiden now that it is clear that the population of the Leiden region will continue to grow in the coming years. Center Director Gijs Holla describes an attractive, economically vibrant and sustainable station area of great interest to Leiden. According to the two organizations, the tram is part of this.
According to Centrummanagement and Ondernemend Leiden, the central road route is the most promising route for a regional tram through the center of Leiden. Trams from the direction of Zoetermeer or Voorschoten and Leidschendam can then travel via Lammenschansweg and Hooigracht, via Langegracht and Schuttersveld to Leiden Central Station and from there head towards Leiden Bio Science Park, Valkenburg and Katwijk beach. “If it proves successful, more tramways can be built.”
In the early 1990s the first plans were drawn up for a tramway from Gouda via Leiden to the coast. RijnGouwelijn (RGL) raised a lot of resistance. Especially the way the light rail cars are supposed to run through the center of Leiden. In a 2007 referendum, an overwhelming majority voted against the introduction of express trams through Leiden.
In 2012, the province of South Holland finally scrapped the plans and opted for a high-quality public transport (HOV) network with buses. The Leidse Ring, a route around Leiden and Leiderdorp, of which the Rijnlandroute and Leidse Ring Noord is an important part, is also part of massive infrastructure projects to further open up the region. More trains now also run on the track around Leiden.
Tram plans to and from Leiden and the region never completely disappeared from the picture. In the spring of 2021, the Dutch Rhineland Regional Partnership also raised a possibility Tram connection between Leiden and the coast up again. A year earlier, the then Minister of Transport, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, also saw opportunities for this Light rail link between Leiden and Dordrecht.
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