Sharp rise in major train traffic disruptions in Netherlands last year

Passengers board a train to Vlissingen at Amsterdam Central Station, 19 Jan 2018
Passengers board a train to Vlissingen at Amsterdam Central Station, 19 Jan 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

Dutch rail company NS dealt with 117 major train traffic disruptions last year, 29 more than the 88 major disruptions in 2016, a spokesperson for NS confirmed to

A train traffic disruption is considered "major" if trains together had a delay of at least 25 hours, or at least 25 trains weren't running. NS could not comment on the cause of the disruptions. "We do not yet have an analysis of the disruptions. But we will have that at the presentation of our annual report on 1 March", the spokesperson said to the newspaper. 

Last year train traffic suffered under the weather conditions, including disruptions caused by a snow storm in December, and other storms in November, September, July, and March. A power outage in Amsterdam on January 17th last year affected train traffic to such an extend that commuters were told not to visit Schiphol, Amsterdam and Utrecht by train. Delays were also caused by rail workers striking in Arnhem, Den Haag and Zwolle in June. How many of these disruptions are included in the 117 major disruptions last year, will only be revealed in March. 

According to travelers' organization Rover, these disruptions affected hundreds of thousands of people. "We do not have precise figures, but if we look at the number of canceled trains and the average occupancy rate, we arrive at hundreds of thousands of travelers." According to Rover, NS is often too quick to cancel trains, and then stop them for too long. "Sometimes a train has a minor defect and is then checked from head to toe, while it could still have been running. This often creates a shortage of equipment."

The Rover spokesperson added that the travelers' organization already talked to NS about remedying these breakdowns. "We have discussed what should be improved in the coming year. We expect NS to do its best to not let so many trains fall out", he said according to the newspaper