Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
Coast Tram (Belgium)
The Coast Tram is a public transport service connecting the cities and towns along the entire Belgian coast, between De Panne near the French border and Knokke-Heist. At 68 km in length, it is the longest tram line in the world, as well as one of the few interurban tramways in the world to remain in operation; the line is built at 1,000 mm metre gauge and electrified at 600 V DC. The first section of the line between Ostend and Nieuwpoort was opened in 1885, although the original route was further inland than the modern one and only short parts of the original section in Oostende and Nieuwpoort centres are still in operation. On its creation, the line was managed by the NMVB, that operated an interurban tram system throughout Belgium. In 1991, the NMVB/SNCV was broken into two regional companies, one Walloon and the other Flemish, with the Flemish successor company, Vlaamse Vervoermaatschappij De Lijn taking responsibility for operation of the coastal tram; the service makes 69 stops along the 68 km line, with a tram running every 10 min during the peak summer months, it is used by over 3 million passengers.
The service has been made more accessible by new low-floor centre sections to existing vehicles and a few new HermeLijn low-floor trams. While most of the older trams are unidirectional and so have to be turned on a loop in order to reverse direction, the newer ones are bidirectional, with driving positions and doors on both end/sides. An interesting feature is the two alternative routes that exist around both ends of the Leopoldkanaal locks, just east of Zeebrugge, the similar single track diversion around the inland end of the Boudewijnkanaal lock; that avoids delays when the road bridge that the tram line follows is raised for boats passing under it. There is a similar feature at the southern end of Ostend station around the lock entrance to the Vlotdok. De Lijn NMVB / SNCV De Kusttram De Lijn Buurtspoorweg foto archief TRAMANIA Buurtspoorweg sponsoring UrbanRail.net page
Rotterdam is the second-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea, its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland. A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest port, it has a population of 633,471. Rotterdam is known for its Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life and maritime heritage; the near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers designed by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel. The Rhine and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the industrialized Ruhr; the extensive distribution system including rail and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".
The settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte dates from at least 900 CE. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams, including Schielands Hoge Zeedijk along the northern banks of the present-day Nieuwe Maas. A dam on the Rotte was located at the present-day Hoogstraat. On 7 July 1340, Count Willem IV of Holland granted city rights to Rotterdam, whose population was only a few thousand. Around the year 1350, a shipping canal, the Rotterdamse Schie was completed, which provided Rotterdam access to the larger towns in the north, allowing it to become a local trans-shipment centre between the Netherlands and Germany, to urbanize; the port of Rotterdam grew but into a port of importance, becoming the seat of one of the six "chambers" of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company. The greatest spurt of growth, both in port activity and population, followed the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg in 1872.
The city and harbor started to expand on the south bank of the river. The Witte Huis or White House skyscraper, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the French Château-style, is evidence of Rotterdam's rapid growth and success; when completed, it was the tallest office building in Europe, with a height of 45 m. During World War I the city was the world's largest spy centre because of Dutch neutrality and its strategic location in between Great-Britain and German-occupied Belgium. Many spies who were arrested and executed in Britain were led by German secret agents operating from Rotterdam. MI6 had its main European office on de Boompjes. From there the British occupied Belgium. During World War I, an average of 25,000 Belgian refugees lived in the city, as well as hundreds of German deserters and escaped Allied prisoners of war. During World War II, the German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Adolf Hitler had hoped to conquer the country in just one day, but his forces met unexpectedly fierce resistance.
The Dutch army was forced to capitulate on 15 May 1940, following the bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May and the threat of bombing of other Dutch cities. The heart of Rotterdam was completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe; some 80,000 civilians were made homeless and 900 were killed. The City Hall survived the bombing. Ossip Zadkine attempted to capture the event with his statue De Verwoeste Stad; the statue stands near the Leuvehaven, not far from the Erasmusbrug in the centre of the city, on the north shore of the river Nieuwe Maas. Rotterdam was rebuilt from the 1950s through to the 1970s, it remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more'livable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre. Rotterdam was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism.
A Guardian profile of Rem Koolhaas begins "If you put the last 50 years of architecture in a blender, spat it out in building-sized chunks across the skyline, you would end up with something that looked a bit like Rotterdam."'Rotterdam' is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river Nieuwe Maas, connected by: the Beneluxtunnel. The former railway lift bridge De Hef is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland and the south of Rotterdam; the city centre is located on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Maas, although recent urban development has extended the centre to parts of southern Rotterdam known as De Kop van Zuid. From its inland core, Rotterdam reaches the North Sea by a swathe of predominantly harbour area. Built behind di
Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. By January 1, 2008, the total population of Charleroi was 201,593; the metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 1,462 square kilometres with a total population of 522,522 by January 1, 2008, ranking it as the 5th most populous in Belgium after Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, Ghent. The inhabitants are called Carolorégiens or Carolos; the municipality of Charleroi straddles both banks of the river Sambre in an area marked by industrial activities, nicknamed the Pays Noir, part of the larger sillon industriel. Though most of the factories have closed since the 1950s, the landscape remains dotted with spoil tips and old industrial buildings. Charleroi lies around 50 kilometres south of Brussels; the municipality comprises: I. the central city of Charleroiand the following former municipalities, merged into Charleroi in 1977: Neighboring municipalities: Similar to the rest of Belgium Charleroi has an oceanic climate as a result of the Gulf Stream influence warming winters, while moderating summer warmth in spite of its inland position.
The Charleroi area was settled in the prehistoric period, with traces of metallurgical and commercial activities along the Sambre. Several public buildings and villas were built in the area in the Roman period. Burial places, with jewels and weapons, have been found; the first written mention of a place called Charnoy dates from a 9th-century offering in the Lobbes abbey, which lists various neighboring towns and related tithe duties. During the Middle Ages, Charnoy was one of the many small hamlets in the area, with no more than about 50 inhabitants, part of the County of Namur; the history of the city of Charleroi began in 1666. In the spring of that year, Francisco Castel Rodrigo, Governor of the Netherlands at the service of five-year-old Charles II of Spain, expropriated the area from the local lords to build a fortress near the Sambre. In September of that same year, the name Charnoy was replaced by that of the newly founded city of Charles-Roi, so named in honor of Charles II; the chronogram FVNDATVR CAROLOREGIVM can be found in the register of the parish of Charnoy for the year 1666.
A year Louis XIV’s armies, under the command of the Vicomte de Turenne, besieged the unfinished fortress. Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban completed the fortification work. Shortly after its foundation, the new city was in turn besieged by the Dutch, ceded to the Spanish in 1678, taken by the French in 1693, ceded again to the Spanish in 1698 taken by the French, the Dutch and the Austrians in 1714; the French Prince of Conti took the city again in 1745, but it was ceded back to Austria in 1748, beginning a period of prosperity under Joseph II. Glass and coal industries, which had sprung up a century earlier, could now flourish. Trouble began again in 1790, the year of the civil uprising that led to the United States of Belgium; the Austrians occupied the city, were forced out by the French after the Battle of Jemappes on November 6, 1792, took it back again four months later. On June 12, 1794, the French revolutionary Army of Sambre-et-Meuse under the command of Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, invested Charleroi and won a decisive victory in the ensuing Battle of Fleurus.
The city took the revolutionary name of Libre-sur-Sambre until 1800. After France's defeat in 1814, the whole area was annexed to the Netherlands, new walls were built around the city. Napoleon stayed in Charleroi for a couple of days in June 1815, just before the Battle of Waterloo; the Belgian Revolution of 1830 gave the area its freedom from the Netherlands and ushered in a new era of prosperity, still based on glass and coal, hence the area’s name, Pays Noir. After the Industrial Revolution, Charleroi benefited from the increased use of coke in the metallurgical industry. People from across Europe were attracted by the economic opportunities, the population grew rapidly. Following the Industrial revolution in Wallonia, Charleroi from the 1850s–1860s became one of the most important places where labor strikes broke out. In 1886, 12 strikers were killed by the Belgian army in Roux. In the 1880s, miners in Hainaut were recruited by the Dominion Coal Company in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia; these miners were anxious to flee the repression following bloody strikes and riots in Liège and Charleroi during the Walloon Jacquerie of 1886.
Walloon miners from Charleroi emigrated to Alberta, Canada. The working men of Charleroi always played an important role in Belgian general strikes and during the Belgian general strike of 1936, the General strike against Leopold III of Belgium and the 1960-1961 Winter General Strike. By 1871, the fortified walls around the city were torn down. Heavy fighting took place during World War I due to the city's strategic location on the Sambre; the city was badly damaged with further destruction only being prevented by a treaty agreed with the German forces which required the payment of 10 million Belgian Francs, foodstuffs and armaments. Spirou magazine which featured the popular cartoon characters Lucky Luke and the Smurfs was launched by the publishing company Éditions Dupuis in 1938. After World War II, Charleroi witnessed a general decline of its heavy industry. Following the merger with several surrounding municipalities in 1977, the city as of 2013
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
High Speed 1
High Speed 1 the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, is a 67-mile high-speed railway linking London with the Channel Tunnel. The line carries international passenger traffic between the United Continental Europe; the line crosses the River Medway, under the River Thames, terminating at St Pancras International station on the north side of central London. It cost £5.8 billion to build and opened on 14 November 2007. Trains reach speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour on section 1 and up to 230 kilometres per hour on section 2. Intermediate stations are at Stratford International in London, Ebbsfleet International Station and Ashford International in Kent. International passenger services are provided by Eurostar, with journey times of London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord in 2 hours 15 minutes, St Pancras to Brussels-South in 1 hour 51 minutes; as of November 2015, Eurostar has used a fleet of 27 Class 373/1 multi-system trains capable of 300 kilometres per hour and 320 kilometres per hour Class 374 trains.
Domestic high-speed commuter services serving the intermediate stations and beyond began on 13 December 2009. The fleet of 29 Class 395 passenger trains reach speeds of 225 kilometres per hour. DB Cargo UK run freight services on High Speed 1 using adapted Class 92 locomotives, enabling flat wagons carrying continental-size swap body containers to reach London for the first time; the CTRL project saw new bridges and tunnels built, with a combined length nearly as long as the Channel Tunnel itself, significant archaeological research undertaken. In 2002, the CTRL project was awarded the Major Project Award at the British Construction Industry Awards; the line was transferred to government ownership in 2009, with a 30-year concession for its operation being put up for sale in June 2010. The concession was awarded to a consortium of Borealis Infrastructure and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in November 2010, but does not include the freehold or rights to any of the associated land. In July 2017 HS1 Ltd. was acquired by a consortium of funds advised and managed by InfraRed Capital Partners Limited and Equitix Investment Management Limited.
A high-speed rail line, LGV Nord, has been in operation between the Channel Tunnel and the outskirts of Paris since the Tunnel's opening in 1994. This has enabled Eurostar rail services to travel at 300 km/h for this part of their journey. A similar high-speed line in Belgium, from the French border to Brussels, HSL 1, opened in 1997. In Britain, Eurostar trains had to run at a maximum of 160 km/h on existing tracks between London Waterloo and the Channel Tunnel; these tracks were shared with local traffic, limiting the number of services that could be run, jeopardising reliability. The case for a high-speed line similar to the continental part of the route was recognised by policymakers, the construction of the line was authorised by Parliament with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996, amended by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 2008. An early plan conceived by British Rail in the early 1970s for a route passing through Tonbridge met considerable opposition on environmental and social grounds from the Leigh Action Group and Surrey & Kent Action on Rail.
A committee was set up to examine the proposal under Sir Alexander Cairncross. The next plan for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link involved a tunnel reaching London from the south-east, an underground terminus in the vicinity of King's Cross station. A late change in the plans, principally driven by the Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine's desire for urban regeneration in east London, led to a change of route, with the new line approaching London from the east; this opened the possibility of reusing the underused St Pancras station as the terminus, with access via the North London Line that crosses the throat of the station. The idea of using the North London line proved illusory, it was rejected in 1994 by the Transport Secretary, John MacGregor, as too difficult to construct and environmentally damaging; the idea of using St Pancras station as the core of the new terminus was retained, albeit now linked by 20 kilometres of specially built tunnels to Dagenham via Stratford. London & Continental Railways was chosen by the UK government in 1996 to build the line and to reconstruct St Pancras station as its terminus, to take over the British share of the Eurostar operation, Eurostar.
The original LCR consortium members were National Express, Virgin Group, S. G. Warburg & Co, Bechtel and London Electric. While the project was under development by British Rail it was managed by Union Railways, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of LCR. On 14 November 2006, LCR adopted High Speed 1 as the brand name for the completed railway. Official legislation and line-side signage have continued to refer to "CTRL"; as the 1987 Channel Tunnel Act made government funding for a Channel tunnel rail link unlawful, construction did not take place as it was not financially viable. Construction was delayed until passage of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Act 1996 which provided construction powers that ran for the following 10 years; the chief executive of the time Rob Holden stated that it was the "largest land acquisition programme since the Second World War". The whole route was to hav
The HSL-Zuid, is a 125 kilometres-long Dutch high-speed railway line running between the Amsterdam metropolitan area and the Belgian border, with a branch to Breda, North Brabant. Together with the Belgian HSL 4 it forms the Schiphol–Antwerp high-speed railway. Scheduled to be in service by 2007, the first public operations began on 7 September 2009, after a ceremony on 6 September. Intercity Direct operates between Amsterdam and Breda, for the time being with conventional Intercity carriages and TRAXX locomotives. On 13 December 2009 Thalys began services from Amsterdam to Brussels on the HSL-Zuid. On 4 April 2018 the first scheduled Eurostar connected Amsterdam to London via the HSL-Zuid. Talks about a high-speed line between Amsterdam and the Belgian border started under Prime Minister Joop den Uyl; the Rijkswaterstaat, a government agency under the authority of the Ministry of Transport and Water Management, was responsible for the organisation of the project. The Government of the Netherlands awarded the country's largest public-private partnership contract to the consortium Infraspeed until 2030.
The line features state-of-the-art technology, including ETCS level 2 train control systems provided by Siemens AG and Alcatel, will be an ERTMS 2.3.0 Corridor. Between Amsterdam and Schiphol, around Rotterdam, high speed trains operate on the existing line. South of Schiphol the dedicated high speed tracks begin, parallelling the existing railway line until Nieuw-Vennep; the line branches off eastwards, continuing along the west side of Roelofarendsveen and Hoogmade and entering a tunnel east of Leiderdorp. This tunnel was built to protect the character of the Groene Hart region. North of Zoetermeer the train line leaves the tunnel west of Hazerswoude. Trains run on existing tracks for a few kilometres before entering the high speed line again. At Barendrecht the two tracks cross each other and the trains begin left-hand running as in Belgium and the United Kingdom. From here the line runs next to the existing railway as well as the Betuweroute, continuing through the Hoekse Waard area, bypassing Dordrecht.
South of Dordrecht, the line runs next to the A16 motorway with a branch spurring off to the city of Breda. South of Breda, the line again follows the motorway towards Antwerp in northern Belgium. At the Belgian border, it connects to HSL 4, which carries on to Antwerp, with an existing line from Antwerp to Brussels. Since the opening of the HSL-Zuid, the number of trains has been expanded over time. On 7 September 2009, operator NS International started a domestic train service between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, weekdays only, 1 train hourly with TRAXX-locomotives and ICR-carriages running at 160 km/h maximum. Over time, this services has been expanded. On 12 April 2010, service was expanded to Sunday. On 4 October 2010, the frequency was doubled to 2 trains hourly. On 3 April 2011, this service was extended to Breda; this service is called Intercity Direct, until 2013 Fyra. Although a more intensive service was planned this is not possible due to the V250 rolling stock problem. In service as of April 2014, 2 trains per hour: Amsterdam Centraal – Schiphol Airport – Rotterdam Centraal – Breda In service as of December 2016, 2 trains per hour: Amsterdam Centraal – Schiphol Airport – Rotterdam In service as of April 2017, 2 trains per hour: Den Haag Centraal – Rotterdam Centraal – Breda – Eindhoven Fyra International was an international high speed train service operated with V250 rolling stock between Amsterdam Centraal – Schiphol Airport – Rotterdam Centraal – Antwerp – Brussels, 10 times daily.
Due to intensive problems with V250, this service only ran for forty days, between 8 December 2012 and 17 January 2013. Thalys runs several times a day on the HSL-Zuid with speeds up to 300 km/h. After the failure of V250 and Fyra International, Thalys frequency was expanded: In service as of April 2014, 9 trains per day: Amsterdam Centraal – Schiphol – Rotterdam Centraal – Antwerp – Brussels Midi – Paris Nord In service as of April 2014, 2 trains per day: Amsterdam Centraal – Schiphol – Rotterdam Centraal – Antwerp – Brussels Midi – Lille Europe The new line shortened travel times for international and domestic services departing from Amsterdam. From Amsterdam to Rotterdam: 43 minutes From Amsterdam to Breda: 59 minutes From Amsterdam to Antwerp: 1 hour and 10 minutes From Amsterdam to Brussels: 1 hour and 44 minutes From Amsterdam to Paris: 3 hours and 13 minutes From Roosendaal however the travel times have become longer. From Roosendaal to Brussels: 1 hour and 16 minutes not including the change of trains in Breda Thalys reported that its trains would start using the line from December 2009, with Paris to Amsterdam journeys being 3 hours and 45 minutes and Brussels to Amsterdam journeys being 2 hours and 23 minutes, on account of a plan to increase the line speed, with the same trains in June taking 3 hours and 18 minutes and 1 hour and 58 minutes.
Nowadays trains travel from Paris and Brussels to Amsterdam in respect