Shorter train travel times in the Netherlands: NS’ newest plans

Shorter train travel times in the Netherlands: NS’ newest plans

Yes, 2019 may have just begun, and with it NS’ latest travel schedule, but the rail company isn’t taking a break, in fact, it is already making plans for next year. Such plans encompass quicker Sprinters from the North of the country to the urban city conglomeration and Thalys trains that arrive earlier in Disneyland Paris, amongst other things.

More and quicker Dutch trains

For 2020, NS is planning on increasing the number of trains running per hour where possible. Specifically, the rail company wants to up the number of Intercity trains running between Utrecht and Amersfoort from four to six per hour. NS also plans to reduce the travel time of passengers on the routes GroningenZwolle and Leeuwarden – Meppel by introducing new Sprinter trains which accelerate faster. On these routes, passengers can expect a reduction in travel time of four minutes.

Those Sprinter passengers changing at Meppel to travel to the urban conglomeration will get there 15 minutes faster than previously due to a quicker crossover. Getting to a city in the Netherlands won’t be the only destination that will be easier to reach either, in the summer, NS plans on increasing the number of trains heading to the beach on the Haarlem – Zandvoort route from four to six per hour.

When it comes to international trains, NS plans on having Thalys trains depart earlier so that they arrive in Disneyland Paris before it opens at 10am. NS also wants to increase the number of train carriages to allow for more available seats for passengers. Additionally, the Dutch rail company is in talks with Eurostar about increasing the number of trains running per day from three to four.

Thousands to benefit from plans

The new NS plans, which will be implemented mid-December 2019, will impact thousands of travellers in a positive way. Around 1.000 people will benefit from NS’ plan to increase the number of Intercity trains between Utrecht and Deventer from one to three during peak hours. The new timetable, in general, will mean a reduction in daily travel time of three minutes for 51.000 passengers. For 95 percent of passengers, there will be no noticeable change in travel time.

Not everyone will benefit however, 9.000 people will have an extra travel time of three to 10 minutes and 500 people will be travelling for 10 minutes upwards more than the same journey would usually take them.

Something else that is changing at NS in 2020 is the actual scheduling / creation of the train service timetable. Currently, the train services are planned by the minute. From 2020, train services will be planned in blocks of six seconds. A definitive train timetable will be decided upon later this year. Passengers will continue to see train times per minute on departure boards.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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