Over 150 train damage reports; Few trains running Thursday, problems on Friday

NS train hits tree in Netherlands
Workers try to separate a tree from a NS train following the storm. January 18, 2018photo: ProRail / Twitter

Over 150 damage claims were made along the Dutch rail lines during Thursday's storm, of which there were about 40 serious incidents. Although limited train service in the Netherlands was expected to begin on Thursday at 5 p.m., the railroad infrastructure firm ProRail advised passengers to find alternative ways home.

Nearly all trains in the Netherlands were halted beginning at 11 a.m. Overhead electricity lines were broken at 30 locations, and at least 40 trees blew over onto the tracks, ProRail said in a statement at 5 p.m.

"The damage to the infrastructure is extensive. Travellers will continue to suffer from this for a while," ProRail said in a statement.

The NS said they would continuously update their online travel planner, but noted it was "impossible" to say when trains would restart and which trains would run.

Travellers who don't mind sharing a vehicle with a stranger may be able to find a ride home using the #Stormpoolen hashtag on social media. The roadways were still clogged with 438 kilometers of traffic jams at 5 p.m. on Thursday, but many highways reopened just in time for rush hour.

Over 30 trucks overturned during the heavy wind storm on Thursday. It's the highest number of overturned trucks in a single day since 1990, traffic service VID said.

Traffic was predicted to return to normal in time for the Friday morning rush.

However, domestic train service was likely to be hampered on Friday, the NS and ProRail acknowledged. "With this type of major damage we have to call in a contractor and make a recovery plan. This takes a lot of time, so there is a good chance that passengers will be affected for longer," a ProRail spokesperson told AD.

Trains from the Netherlands to Germany could still face problems on Friday, with significant train issues reported on the German rail network.

Thalys international trains from Amsterdam to Paris, Brussels, and Lille will resume on Friday morning if the rail system is repaired, the train provider announced.