It takes two to tango

Design and management of bilateral railroad infrastructures

Freek Faber Peter Goudswaard Paul de Grijp Thieme Hennis Florian Witsenburg

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Introduction..................................... ....................................3
Complexity of bilateral railroad projects............................................................ .......4 Criticality of bilateral railroad projects..................................... ................................6

Case 1: The Chunnel.............................................................. 7
Technological complexity............................................................ .............................7 Institutional complexity................................................................................. ...........8 Criticality........................................................................................................ ........10 Conclusions from the Channel tunnel........................................................... ..........11

Case 2: The Betuweroute............................................ .........12
Technological complexity......................................................... ..............................12 Different voltages.................................................................................... ...........12 Heights of tunnels................................................................... ...........................13 Capacity...................................................................................... .......................13 Institutional complexity............................................................................... ...........13 Criticality ...................................................................................................... .........14 Conclusions from the Betuweroute...................................................................... ...15

Conclusions and recommendations......................................16
Conclusions of the sub questions....................................................... ....................16 Complexity.................................................................................. .......................16 Criticality............................................................................................ ................16 Recommendations................................................................................................. .16


Railroad infrastructural projects crossing country borders are facing challenges. Traditionally the infrastructure was planned within the countries themselves. In modern times the infrastructure networks became bilaterally connected, like the Channel tunnel, connecting the train infrastructures in France and the United Kingdom. The Channel tunnel was in many aspects a successful project, but other projects show that infrastructural projects between countries are not always that successful. An example is the ‘Betuweroute’, a train connection between the Port of Rotterdam and the German Ruhr Area. The question whether or not the Betuweroute was needed is one we will not attempt to answer. More remarkable is the fact that the physical infrastructure of it is ready within the Netherlands, but ‘ends’ at the German border. This essay discusses the Channel Tunnel and the Betuweroute as case studies to identify the difficulties designers and managers will face with planning and managing bilateral railway infrastructural projects with respect to the complexity and criticality of these projects. Bilateral railway infrastructural projects are connections crossing the border of two countries meant for the transport of goods and persons by train. Characteristics for infrastructure projects are high sunk costs and path dependency. Changing from infrastructures (road to rail) can have high switching costs. Therefore planning and design is very important. Well-planned and managed infrastructure has a multiplier effect on the social benefits1. First the Channel tunnel will be studied with respect to the criticality and the complexity. Secondly the Betuweroute will be analysed. Both case studies will search for the answers on the following research questions: How should the process of bilateral railway infrastructures be designed, such that the project will be executed as planned and the whole process will be manageable? 1. 2. Which role has the complexity of an infrastructure within such a project? Which role has the criticality of an infrastructure within such a project?


Gifford, J.L. ‘Complexity, adaptability and flexibility in Infrastructure and Regional Development: Insight and Implications for Policy Analysis and Planning, Springer, Berlin, pp 169-186


Complexity of bilateral railroad projects Planning and managing bilateral railway infrastructures have a technological and institutional complex dimension that will be discussed in this essay. Figure 1 shows the interaction of the social and physical dimension in infrastructures.

Figure 1 – Social and physical complexity


The technological complexity is due to the differences countries have in their systems. Infrastructures are path dependent, which means that choices made over time still determine large parts of the specifications in infrastructural design. Different countries have different standards. In the UK for instance, no high-speed train can be used, because of wrong and obsolete tracks. Obviously this technological complexity influences the institutional complexity. The train connections between the Netherlands and Germany have to take in consideration different ways of electricity exchange. Institutional complexities are even more inherent and specific to bilateral infrastructure projects. They are the result of the differences in norms and values, criteria and needs for the infrastructure and the fact that agreements have to be made between governments, and not between organisations within a country. The bilateral aspects increase the institutional complexity in several ways. The first one is that the link between different national social networks, performed by the national Governments, is narrow and therefore vulnerable. The national governments, Ministers of Transport in this case, have to defend the agreements or decisions that are made to their own social networks. This makes the information provisioning complicating. It will be harder for the Dutch parliament to see to it that the German side of the Betuweroute will not get delayed. To summarize, the following remarks can be made:  Both countries have different sets of criteria and different interests. These criteria and interests also change over time.  The bilateral projects are often unique and large-scale projects. This makes that no clear examples are available.  The international character makes that there is very little jurisdiction to fall back on. This means a lot of process agreements have to be made.

Sheet I. Bouwmans, SPM4130 Design and Management of Infrastructures


Physical complexity of a bilateral infrastructure/ railroad project is of course very much depending on the actual project. Although, the bilateral character does imply the connection of networks different standards. This makes things extra complex.

Railroad aspect of these projects increases the institutional complexity:  There is a European program to promote multimodal cargo transport. This provides guidelines and standards for railroad transportation. These standards have to reduce complexity but since they are not everywhere adopted, they raise questions about adapting to the standards or not.  Railroad transport has a role as part of a multi modal transport system. This means that these bilateral railroad projects have to connect to others means of transport to and is therefore interdependent to the road-, boat- and air transport networks.


Criticality of bilateral railroad projects The Isthmus connection is characterized by one single connection of keeping the infrastructure a network, see figure 2. Without that connection, there would be two separate networks. The Betuweroute and the Channel Tunnel both have these characteristics. As soon as a network exists, governments, companies and private users start to rely on it. For example a company with a long-term contract that starts transporting goods from Rotterdam to Germany, by using the Betuweroute, relies on this network. High investments and large financial interests are characterized by this kind of networks. This implies a need for high reliability on the network. This makes the Isthmus connection critical: the actors dealing with the railway infrastructure rely on them. Although there are alternatives, like for the Channel tunnel a boat or the plane and for the Betuweroute the road and water, actors are facing sunk costs and switching costs. The actors are vulnerable to small disruptions in the services, like delays, accidents.

Figure 2 – An Isthmus connection Since it is the single connection between two networks it is critical. The reliability of the network depends on the reliability of the Isthmus connection. Reliability of the connection can be divided into two elements.  The physical infrastructure needs to be reliable.  In the multi actor environment of bilateral Isthmus connections, the actors need to rely on one and another. The physical infrastructure needs to be reliable. Technical failures on the connection will make the network fail. Good reliability management is part of this. Part of the reliability management is to protect the infrastructure of terrorist attacks. The actors dealing with the infrastructure are facing high investments and large sunk costs. Trust between the actors needs to be high, otherwise one will not rely on the network. For example a transport company will never make a long-term contract to make use of the Betuweroute if they do not trust Germany to contribute to the connection. Therefore the trust among the actors is critical for a successful bilateral Isthmus connection.


Case 1: The Chunnel
The idea of a tunnel that would bring a physical connection between England and the European mainland has existed since the beginning of the 19th century. The very first drawings and designs also originate from that century. The English government until late last century rejected most of the plans. In 1973 France and England signed a tunnel treaty and the work started. Due to budget problems the work had to stop and did not start until 1987, after the two countries again agreed upon the issue. In 1993, almost 2 centuries after the first tunnel plan, the work was finished and the connection was made. The fact that the whole process took almost two centuries shows that the complexity of this cutting-edge infrastructural work must have been very high, technological as well as institutional. To create such a tunnel, dozens of contracts have been signed, and years of negotiations have been passed. It is interesting to see how these negotiations took place and which issues were addressed. The Channel tunnel is build by a private consortium and is financed by French and British investors. The French investors outnumber British 4 to 1. The main actors besides the investors are the British and the French government. This situation makes the whole process more complex, because of the differences between private and public parties. Although the British and the French government are no shareholders, the project of the infrastructure could be seen as a hybrid formation. In England it is called a Public Private Partnership (PPP).3 The main characteristic of a tunnel is that it is a passage. In this case, the passage is between England and France. It is also the only passage between the two countries: the only other possibilities to get to or to leave England are by plane or boat. The Chunnel is built for trains and this means that, when for some reason it is unavailable, there are no alternatives for the trains (and their cargo) besides boat and airplane. Below will be examined how this criticality came forward in the agreements made about responsibility, maintenance etcetera. The above issues, complexity and criticality, will be examined in the context of process agreements, so lessons can be learned for designing a good infrastructural process. Technological complexity A problem similar to the case of the Betuweroute, about the differences between tracks, recurs in this case. The high-speed train in France (TGV) has a maximum speed of 300 km/h, but when it enters the Tunnel it has to slow down to 130 km/h. On British soil the train is bound to fix its speed to a maximum of almost 96 km/h. In an agreement, called the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, this problem has been dealt with. The upgrading of the track to London is already in progress, so within a few years this problem will cease to exist. Another big problem, were the huge cost overruns. At the construction side, due to technical problems and difficulties, the overrun exceeded 80%, while financing costs were 140% higher than the initial forecast. The revenues, on the other side, did not do any better with not even half of the expected revenues. Has the fact that the project had to be financed from private resources anything to do with this? This is probably not true, because many records of big infrastructural projects show huge cost overruns, and a large part of them are public funded. A more

Department for Transport, The Channel Tunnel Rail Link, 5 November 2002


logic explanation can be found in the technological complexity. In the beginning of such a project, costs are estimated on facts and tacit knowledge. To win the tender, it is also often lowered quite a bit. Unknown technical problems, in this case the Chunnel unexpectedly needed an air-conditioning, which was to be the most expensive air conditioning in the world, costing several hundreds of millions of dollars. Many other miscalculations made the project much more expensive than thought before.4 Silvio Funtowitz and Jerome Ravetz claim that in these projects, risk assessment must be at the heart of the decision-making.5 In the decision-making process, these analyses should be included within every design proposal and be done by an independent team of experts. This should in future projects make sure that cost overruns will be kept to a minimum. It is nonetheless the question to what extent the results of these analyses are reliable. These experts should base their advice on similar projects in the past. Agreements have to be made by the most important stakeholders (especially investors) about the relevance of these results and the weight they get in the decision-making process. In the Chunnel project an important agreement has been made in order to make sure that the project would finish, namely that in spite of cost overruns, these costs had to be paid for, without stopping the project. Clearly after a while other investors had to be sought after. The most important fact within these projects is that it is impossible to know all, or even a large part of the investments that have to be done. These agreements should be part of the process:  As said, an independent team of experts should be involved to ensure that a more truthful estimation of the costs can be made.  Besides this, the results of design and cost estimations should be made public in order to give the process more transparency and enable critics to give their view on the project. When making sure agreements have been made that regard these points, probably the risks of great technological ignorance are minimized. Institutional complexity In this huge project, the number of involved actors is very large and their diversity very broad. Besides, the difference between France and England has always been great. One of the most relevant differences was the difference in financing culture within infrastructural projects. In England almost no project is publicly funded, where in France public funding is not that rare. This has had a great impact on the way this project was financed, while the English insisted on only private investors. For the project itself this has not generated problems the huge cost overruns has been bore by private investors and many international banks. Especially the financing of the link between the point where the Tunnel reaches England and London has shown that this can cause difficulties. The construction and upgrading of the track that is suitable for high-speed trains still has not completed. A treaty is signed with regard to this track, but the unwillingness of the English to invest public money in this track has caused many problems and delays. Many different problems were identified and even more actors are involved in this project:

The Channel Tunnel – A Case Study, National Defense University, Washington DC, 1993 5 Megaprojects and Risk, an Anatomy of Ambition, Flyvbjerg, Bruzelius, Rothengatter, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003


• • • • •

British government refused to fund (to be paid by private investors not taxpayers) Noise nuisance (County of Kent will be traversed by 400 trains per day) Environmental damage to picturesque countryside Loss of jobs to businesses related to ferries Fear of terrorist attacks

These issues were dealt with before any tender had begun. The two governments had agreed upon the most important environmental and safety aspects on beforehand. They also agreed upon the bidder’s criteria: proposals had to be technically feasible, financially viable, Anglo-French, and accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment. The bidder had to raise all money from private investors without any governmental intervention or guarantees. In this way no public money would be spent. In return there was to be no regulation on the fares charged for the whole concession of 55 years.6 To make sure the environmental, safety and other important criteria were met; an Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) was brought into existence. The IGC was to supervise the project on behalf of the governments. This commission had a lot of power, because every plan had to pass it. During the construction of the tunnel, several problems appeared. The biggest problems, project delays and increasing expenses, were because of the power of the construction consortium, TML. Because there was in fact no competition after the tender, TML had no trigger to perform well. Also other facts, such as the fact that delays in the project would be much more damaging than costs increases, put a lot of power in the hands of TML. The relation between TML and Eurotunnel, the AngloFrench organization that won the bid, became increasingly bad. Disputes were fought openly in the press and even ancient cultural differences were brought up. This led, at a certain moment, to a stop of funding of the banks. These investors again started funding, because of their obligation to fund and a personal demand of Prime Minister Thatcher in 1990. Some things can be learned from this case. The following process agreements should be able to minimize the problems in future infrastructural, bilateral railway projects.       The requirement that the project has to be finished (within a certain period) has not proven unsuccessful. Also very successful has been the top-level agreements of the governments about the environmental and safety criteria. An independent bilateral commission should ensure these criteria. The whole project should be seen as a dynamic and open one and it should be flexible, but there should be requirements regarding to ensure speed and quality. Also strict agreements should be about the responsibilities of cost overruns, the project costs were hugely underestimated. There should be competing designs in order to create a more efficient and competing environment.

The biggest problems are because of the huge cost overruns. These overruns are the rational consequence of impossible cost estimates. What we learn, amongst other things, from this case, is that these estimates have to be much more realistic. But then, is it possible to ensure enough private funding? Probably then the government has to help out.


Case Study - The Channel Fixed Link: Le Projet du Siécle, Graham M. Winch, November 1998


Criticality As described earlier, criticality regards the characteristic of the Chunnel that it is the only physical passage is between Europe and England. There are no alternatives than the ones that can sail or fly. Consequently this means that there has to be a very high reliability in order to guarantee a daily service. Besides a high reliability, the Chunnel has to provide enough safety that there won’t be any serious accidents when using it. The reliability was ensured in the original contract between Euro tunnel and TML. After finishing the tunnel, TML stayed responsible for maintenance and building between one and two years. The liability of any failures depended on the life cycle of the equipment dealt with, up to 10 years. This made sure, together with the IGC testing, that no unreliable or unsafe materials or equipment was to be used. Since it is a private company, delays due to failures and unreliability will be dealt with through market force. Euro tunnel will loose money if they not ensure certain reliability. This is why, unlike safety, no governmental interference is necessary: the incentive to ensure reliability will be there automatically. The two governments and part of the criteria of the tender agreement as said earlier, agreed upon safety requirements. The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority was established by the Governments in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Canterbury, signed on 12 February 1986. The IGC is also established under this treaty and operates, as said, on behalf of both the governments. The Safety Authority advises the IGC on safety measures and is, like IGC, an intergovernmental commission. Three duties have been charged with the commission to ensure safety7:    To advise and assist the IGC on all matters relating to safety in the design, construction and operation of the Fixed Link; To ensure that national and international safety law is enforced in the Tunnel; To investigate incidents affecting safety in the Tunnel, reporting as necessary to the IGC.

The Safety Authority exists of five permanent working groups, that each focus on different safety aspects. This solution to the reliability and safety problem has a very positive outcome. Regarding these safety matters in big infrastructural projects, one can than say, that it is advisable to have a very intensive interference of governments. This interference should be in an intergovernmental commission with enough instruments to act powerful. Still, when talking about safety, it is not only about consequences of unintended happenings. Since a while we are all aware of the fact that there are enough people capable of hurting many. The Channel Tunnel has not been target to terrorists, but it is not unimaginable that terrorists consider it. Besides, again and again this tunnel has been pointed out as a very vulnerable target and better precautions should be taken to ensure better protection against terrorist attacks8. The Safety Authority should create a new working group that will focus on these kinds of vulnerability. The most important measure that has been taken in order to provide the Chunnel with safety and reliability is the service tunnel. This small tunnel, that connects the bigger railway tunnel through cross passages will be used primarily as a maintenance

Channel Tunnel Safety Authority Annual Report 1995-96 pdf 8


tunnel and the supply of fresh air, but can also be used as a refugee tunnel in case of, for example, fire. Conclusions from the Channel tunnel After investigating the different aspects that relate to the complexity and criticality of the Channel Tunnel, some conclusions can be drawn. These conclusions can be divided into different aspects, governmental interference, process and financial agreements, tendering criteria, safety insurance and reliability. These conclusions can be found in the above text and they will be generalized in our final conclusions. For bilateral infrastructural projects there are some points to be made.  The results of design and cost estimations should be made public in order to give the process more transparency and enable critics to give their view on the project. The requirement that the project has to be finished (within a certain period) has not proven unsuccessful. Before the project starts the two governments have to make agreements about the environmental and safety criteria. An independent bilateral commission, representing the most important stakeholders, should ensure these criteria. The whole project should be seen as a dynamic and open one and it should be flexible, but there should be requirements regarding to ensure speed and quality. Also strict agreements should be about the responsibilities of cost overruns, the project costs were hugely underestimated. There should be competing designs in order to create a more efficient and competing environment. Independent bilateral committee to ensure safety and reliability criteria during exploitation.

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Case 2: The Betuweroute
As we have seen in the case of the Chunnel, the success of such a bilateral project highly depends on the agreements and cooperation between the two countries. No we will look at the Betuweroute: the rail connection between the port of Rotterdam and the German border. The intention of this large project was to make a direct rail connection between the Netherlands and the Ruhr area in Germany and the countries beyond to Switzerland and Italy. The railways would be able to compete with the less sustainable truck transport in future and enforce the position of the Netherlands as a distribution country. After years of struggling about the track of the route, the construction of the Dutch part started in 1997 and should be finished in 2007. The Betuweroute can be seen as an Isthmus connection between the economic area of the Randstad (maybe even the whole of the Netherlands) and the industrial area of the German Ruhr area (and even maybe to the whole of Europe). The Netherlands Port of Rotterda m Border Betuweroute

Europe German ‘Ruhr area’

Figure 3 - Overview of the Betuweroute This project is a relevant case for our research question, because the success of the project largely depends on the agreements and cooperation between the Netherlands and Germany. The Dutch and German government made some agreements about the track in 1992: the ‘Warnemünde-verdrag’. Unlike the Channel tunnel both countries are responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of their own track. This has lead to a great focus on the Dutch part of the system instead of a focus on the train link as a whole. To go deeper into this matter, we will discuss the complexity and criticality. We will focus on those problems that appear in the connection between Germany and the Netherlands. Technological complexity This project has a number of technical problems. These are physical problems that are caused by the coupling the two different railway networks. Different voltages The most important problem is the one of the different voltages of the power supply. The low voltage Dutch power supply (1.5 kV dc) is insufficient for long heavy cargo trains and high-speed trains. Another disadvantage is the expensiveness of the multicourant locomotives. These are locomotives that can handle the different voltages9. The solution for this problem that is chosen is a voltage of 25kV according to the European standards, in combination with multi courant locomotives. The advantage is that this is the same voltage as the high-speed train track that is being build, as so there are only two different voltages in the Netherlands. A disadvantage is that it is different from the German system, which is 15kV. Therefore the multicourant

9 , 29/11/2004


locomotives are necessary10. International agreements about the electrical power of the rail network are formed by a prescribed European standard. Heights of tunnels Another problem that might occur in the future is different heights of tunnels. The problem or opportunity in this project is the possibility of double-stack trains. These are trains loaded with two containers above each other. At the moment this double stack train is not used because the height of existing bridges is insufficient, especially in Germany, and the extra capacity that will be created this way is not necessary yet. The solution to this problem is more or less postponed. It was decided that the double stack would not be used on the Betuweroute yet, because the German railways are not prepared for that. The Dutch government decided to build the tunnels high enough for double stack trains to be prepared for future capacity problems. Viaducts and bridges will not be made high enough now because they can be raised if in the future this double stack trains will be used11. Capacity A third technical physical problem is the capacity of the connection. There are many predictions of the possible capacity, but most of the critical ones predict lower capacity on the German part of the connection than assumed previously. Decisions about the profitability and the value of the Dutch Betuweroute were based on these previous assumptions12. Therefore profitability will probably be disappointing. To increase the capacity without building extra tracks, a new safety system is being used as a technical solution in the Netherlands to make possible a higher density of trains. Therefore investments are being made. For none of these problems new technical solutions were created. Technical complexity is therefore rather limited. The physical problems do need a solution and therefore do require coordination between different actors. In this way they contribute to the complexity of the whole socio-technical system. Institutional complexity Different organizations were and are involved in the design, management and exploitation of the Betuweroute. How to coordinate the behaviour of these organizations in a bilateral setting to realize a large infrastructural connection like the Betuweroute is a rather complex question. The bilateral character of this infrastructure project requires the coupling of two national multi- actor settings. After the construction of the Dutch part, which is totally financed by the Dutch government, a private consortium will exploit the track. That consortium will sell ‘slots’ to transport companies, like the flight slots on Schiphol Airport. On the other side of the border, the Deutsche Bahn, which has been privatized as well, is the owner of the infrastructure and still the most important transport company. Both parts are not separated, and the company is still a very bureaucratic state owned monopoly culture. This is the reason that the DB wants to protect the market position of DB cargo and didn’t start any activity for upgrading the track trough Germany. These two different national multi actor settings increase the complexity for this project. The solution for this complicated situation was found in an agreement between the ministry of Transport of the Netherlands and the German government. A disadvantage of this institutional solution is that al the different interests of the national multi-actor setting have to be represented by the national governments.
10 11, 29/11/2004 , 9/12/2004 12 NRC Handelsblad, 2 sept. 1999, Stagnatie op het Duitse spoor, Floris van Straten


In the agreement of Warnemünde the intension to improve and connect the rail connections from both countries is formalized13. These are the agreements with the German Government:     Replace all railroad transitions by viaducts between the German border and Oberhausen (planned start 2008) Expand the junction Oberhausen (in progress) Double the track from Oberhausen to Duisburg an to Herne Implement a new safety system

Another aspect of a large bilateral infrastructural project like the Betuweroute is that it is a rather unique project in the sense that there are no similar projects that show us how to create a Betuweroute. An important factor is that there is no jurisdiction for this kind of project. Therefore the Dutch government can’t force the Germans to keep their promises. Besides these concrete agreements there was an appointment that new tracks (North branch and South branch) would be build to create extra capacity if this was necessary. In 1999 was decided that the North branch is not necessary and in 2001 the minister of transport (V&W) decided that the South branch would not be necessary until 202014. These two branches would relieve the central branch trough Germany. Since Dutch government cancelled these branches, the Germans aren’t that excited about the project anymore. The above mentioned problems can be viewed from a process management perspective with closed actors (The Dutch government can’t force the German government), dynamic situation (the original design changed from three to one branch, interdependencies (both governments need each other on several occasions) and pluriformity (private parties like transport companies and ProRail all with different interests). Recently there have been questions from the Dutch parliament to the minister of transport (V&W) about the connection between the Betuweroute and the German railroad network. In a response letter from September 6th 2004 the minister assured the Parliament that there is good contact with the German government and that they will comply with the agreements.15 She couldn’t specify her findings. Surprisingly nothing more can be found about the progress on the German side. Criticality Which aspects of criticality play a role in the Betuweroute? In the original design with the North and South branch, the route can be seen as quite reliable. But since minister of Transport cancelled the North and South branch, there is much more pressure on the centre branch. And the German communalities near the centre branch resisted against upgrading of the existing track. The Deutsch Bahn wasn’t hurrying as well because they would have to place expensive noise walls around the rail track when the track would have been doubled. In theory, when the Betuweroute is finished, the Dutch part of it has a capacity of 240 trains per day in one direction. Since there are no one-floor crossings anymore on the Dutch part and the capacity exceeds the demand for transport by far, the Dutch part is relatively reliable. But as a consequence of the German resistance against upgrading of the German part, this part is much less reliable. Since the Germans do not intend to change the
13 te/internationaal, 29/11/2004 14, 29/11/2004 15, 29/11/2004


track dramatically, the track still cuts trough villages. It also stays a route with one track per direction. This makes the track quite vulnerable. The capacity of this track is by far not as large as the Dutch part. The Deutsche Bahn just waits until the demand of transport grows and upgrading is really necessary. To make the rail track less vulnerable huge investment costs are needed, and the German interest in the project isn’t that high. Most of the investments go to the upgrading of the railways in East Germany. Conclusions from the Betuweroute Which conclusions can be drawn for this bilateral infrastructural project? The success of the connection depends on cooperation and agreements between both countries. You should look at it as a corridor between Rotterdam and the Ruhr-area and not as two independent parts. The Betuweroute is less successful without the North and South branch.  The institutional complexity increases for bilateral projects. There is not only a multi-actor setting with different goals and interests. The multi-actor setting in two different countries makes the social network more complex. The characteristics of process management are even stronger in the bilateral context (pluriformity, closedness, interdependency and dynamics). The problems that occur should therefore also be solved in a process management way The centre branch of the Betuweroute has become more critical. Reason for this were: o Cost reduction on the Dutch side by cancelling North and South branch o Violation of German core values by cancelling north and south branch, therefore no incentive for Germans to upgrade centre branch o Changing interests on German side: investments in East Germany more important From a process management perspective, the Dutch government has made some mistakes by focussing too much on the Dutch part alone. The bilateral multi-actor setting wasn’t kept in mind


Conclusions and recommendations
Conclusions of the sub questions Complexity The first question was which role complexity plays a role in bilateral infrastructure projects. As we have seen, there are a lot of technical difficulties in such a large infrastructural project. But these difficulties exist in any large infrastructural project. This is not the unique characteristic of bilateral projects. The difficulty is that these technical problems have to be solved in an institutional complex environment. Two countries often have to cooperate with different interests and different actor networks in both countries. Criticality As soon as services rely on the physical infrastructure like the Betuweroute and the Channel tunnel, it will become a critical connection. Both cases are an Isthmus connection because it is the only connection between the two networks in both countries. There is no alternative for trains when the infrastructure breaks down without making huge switching costs, once actors rely on the infrastructure. And again this criticality should be solved in a bilateral context. To ensure the safety and maintenance a bilateral committee has proven to be successful in the case of the Channel tunnel. In case of the Betuweroute the Dutch decision to change the design had a negative influence so far on the reliability. The reliability and capacity of the German part has become questionable because of lack of cooperation between the two countries. Recommendations The bilateral projects should be considered as one project, like with the Channel Tunnel was done. An Intergovernmental Commission representing the most important stakeholders should monitor the progress, safety, financing and the reliability of the project.  With regard to the social complexity, this brings all the differences in norms, values interests and information together. Actors will gain trust and communicate with each other.  With regard to the technological complexity, the commission can ensure good communication. To foresee technological complexities high costs can be saved.  Dealing with a bilateral Isthmus railway connection a commission who oversees the whole project, regardless of national borders can reduce technological and social complexity. Actors will gain trust in the project, which makes financing easier.  Since the Isthmus connection is critical, the construction and maintenance requires good reliability management. In the construction phase process agreements need to ensure that all the connection is build and therefore the infrastructure becomes a network.  Maintenance requires good reliability management. Small disruptions in the Isthmus connection can have large impacts on the whole network and the actors relying on the network.  The results of design and cost estimations should be made public in order to give the process more transparency and enable critics to give their view on the project.  The requirement that the project has to be finished (within a certain period) has not proven unsuccessful.


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Before the project starts the two governments have to make agreements about the environmental and safety criteria. The whole project should be seen as a dynamic and open one and it should be flexible, but there should be requirements regarding to ensure speed and quality. Also strict agreements should be about the responsibilities of cost overruns, the project costs were hugely underestimated. There should be competing designs in order to create a more efficient and competing environment.