Sail and Ride - coming to the Netherlands

Great concept - dinghy from your sailing boat direct to the train station
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As my Grandad used to say, 'What will they think of next?' Last month the first sail-in movie cinema was introduced in Britain during Cowes Week. Now a Dutch consortium has put forward a proposal that includes a 'sail and ride' station in a new 20 km rail connection in the Netherlands.

With sailing being a very popular activity in the Netherlands, and the lake being between the two cities they want to bring closer together, the idea is a natural. What a nice lifestye - live on your yacht and dinghy to the trainline to make your way to work!

The proposed route includes a 9km tunnel and a station set within a new canal where boats could moor at what is described as ‘the world’s first sail-and-ride station’.

The studies have been carried out on behalf of the operating company Werkmaatschappij Almere-Amsterdam (WAA) and examine a route between Amsterdam-South and Almere-South Centre through the IJmeer Lake. The proposal is is just one of several, but most of them include a bridge instead of the proposed tunnel.

IJmeer Lake, between Amsterdam and Almere
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The railway is planned to support urban growth in eastern Amsterdam and in Almere, where more than 25,000 new homes are planned.

As part of its proposal, the consortium has designed a 20 km long connection from Diemen-Zuid to Almere Centrum, including a 9km tunnel under IJburg and IJmeer. This will include five new stations - two underground and three above ground - with potential for further stations along the line. One of the underground stations is set within a new canal and will provide facilities for boats to moor alongside to create the world’s first sail-and-ride station.

The material excavated from construction of the new tunnel will be used to create a new island north of Pampus and a series of sand dunes and 'shallows' on the coast for recreation and wildlife. with the M55 line passing through a linear park in the centre of Almere.

The new Pampus IJland will include 3,000 homes, each with views over the lake or cove. The island will be formed around a sheltered cove containing a new beach and moorings for yachts and floating homes.

(In 2006, the Council for Transport and Public Works and the Environment Board issued a joint opinion stating that Amsterdam and Almere should become conjoined cities with the IJmeer as a 'Central Park '. Partly to this end, Almere has announced plans to build residential areas in the IJmeer, in order for Amsterdam and Almere to grow closer together.)