RandstadRail (RR) is the official name of a public transportation rapid transit network in the southern part of the Rotterdam The Hague Metropolitan Area in the west of the Netherlands, connecting The Hague, Zoetermeer and Rotterdam. The network mainly uses former train and existing tram tracks, with a new flyover in The Hague and a new tunnel in Rotterdam. RandstadRail is a hybrid system of low-floor tram-train-like carriages used between The Hague and the city of Zoetermeer, and high-floor metro/subway-like carriages between The Hague and Rotterdam. The stations used by both lines have extended platforms with a high and a low part. Moreover, the network includes two bus lines.
The name can be somewhat confusing as for travellers RandstadRail only refers to tram 3 and 4 to Zoetermeer. All other connections as described above are fully integrated in existing metro and bus networks. On the other hand, Hague exploitant HTM considers a regular tram line as RandstadRail, only because it uses the RR-vehicles. (see further section Tram-train lines)
Line E of the Rotterdam Metro, formerly called the Erasmuslijn, runs for a great part on the former Hofpleinlijn railway line between Den Haag Centraal station in The Hague and Hofplein station in Rotterdam. It was opened as a RandstadRail line in September 2006, running at the time between Nootdorp and Hofplein until it was extended to The Hague in November of that year.
As part of the line's conversion to RandstadRail operation, it began using RET metro trains (retaining some level crossings), more stops were added and train frequencies increased. Although the conversion was not flawless, with both a series of technical problems and a derailment, the line has been in full metro-like operation since September 2007.
Rotterdam Hofplein terminus was replaced in 2010 with a bored tunnel connecting the line with the local metro network at Rotterdam Centraal railway station. In December 2011, the line was extended to Slinge metro station in the south of Rotterdam, sharing the section between Rotterdam Centraal and Slinge with the already existing metro line D, thus having its terminus in the town of Spijkenisse, southwest of Rotterdam. The metro line runs every 10 to 15 minutes.
|E||Den Haag Centraal - Laan van NOI - Voorburg 't Loo - Leidschendam-Voorburg - Forepark - Leidschenveen - Nootdorp - Pijnacker Centrum - Pijnacker Zuid - Berkel Westpolder - Rodenrijs - Meijersplein - Melanchthonweg - Blijdorp - Rotterdam Centraal - Stadhuis - Beurs - Leuvehaven - Wilhelminaplein - Rijnhaven - Maashaven - Zuidplein - Slinge|
RandstadRail includes two tram-train lines, both running from The Hague to Zoetermeer. These lines are operated by HTM, the public transport operator in The Hague, and use RandstadRail-liveried RegioCitadis vehicles rather than HTM's older GTL8's.
Line 19 of HTM's local tram network, running between the suburbs of Leidschendam and Delft, is also being temporarily operated as a RandstadRail line as it lacks balloon loops at its termini and cannot be used by the uni-directional GTL8's. Between 2010 and 2015, HTM tram line 2 between Kraayenstein and Leidschendam was also operated using RandstadRail rolling stock until they were gradually replaced by HTM's new bi-directional Avenio trams and returned to the local network.
Line 3 (between Arnold Spoelplein and Central Station) and 4 (between De Uithof and Central Station) are operated as a regular street-running tram line, partially interlined with the local network and sharing a 1.25 km tunnel under the Grote Marktstraat in the city centre with local lines 2 and 6. Between Central Station and Zoetermeer they operate on dedicated tracks as a light rail system. The section from Central Station to Laan van NOI is elevated on a viaduct; from Laan van NOI to Leidschenveen trams share track and stations with metro line E; the remainder of the route uses the former right-of-way of the Zoetermeer Stadslijn.
Line 3 and 4 come every 10 minutes during daytime, on Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, as well as in the evening, they come once every 15 minutes. Line 19, even during the daytime, comes only once every 15 minutes.
In December 2012, two bus lines were added to RandstadRail. These so-called ZoRo-bus lines, line 170 and line 173, run between Zoetermeer and Rodenrijs RandstadRail station, where they connect with Randstadrail metroline E to and from Rotterdam. A new bus lane was constructed between the two cities for the project. The buses are operated by the RET three times hourly and have an almost instant connection to arriving Randstadrail-metrotrains at Rodenrijs RandstadRail station. At their terminus in Zoetermeer Centrum-West Randstadrail station these buslines connect with all other Zoetermeer city- and regional buslines (Arriva and Veolia Transport) and Randstadraillines 3 and 4.
|170||Rodenrijs - Berkel en Rodenrijs - Station Zoetermeer - Station Zoetermeer Oost - Centrum West|
|173||Rodenrijs - Berkel en Rodenrijs - Bergschenhoek - Korenmolenweg - Bleiswijk - Centrum West|
- The most serious derailment took place on 29 November 2006, injuring 17 passengers.