Crowded trains expected as summer vacation comes to an end

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

With schools reopening in the central region of the Netherlands on Monday, and schools in the south already open after summer vacation, NS expects that trains will again be extra crowded during the coming weeks, RTL Nieuws reports.

September is traditionally the busiest month on the Dutch railway. NS expects to transport some 35 million travelers in September. The Dutch rail company is taking measures to manage the traffic as well as possible, including posters advising alternative trains on busy routes, and extra employees to help travelers where needed. But travelers should expect standing room only during rush hour, NS warned.

"On Monday we are back at full strength", NS spokesperson Erik Kroeze said to RTL. "All trains will be back to the maximum length. But this will not be enough in the short term. So keep in mind that you may have to stand in rush hour." The first weeks in September will be particularly busy. "In the course of the month, more and more people will find their place on the train and adjust their travel itinerary where possible."

Kroeze advises people to travel outside rush hour where possible. "Especially between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. is very busy. By taking the train a quarter of an hour earlier or a quarter of an hour later, you can partly avoid the crowds." Travelers can also consult the NS travel planner app to check for less crowded trains. 

The important thing is to make optimum use of the existing railway in the Netherlands, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven of Infrastructure said to the broadcaster. "Unfortunately, we can not just add another rail. Public transport is good, but te challenge is great. I hope that it will not be so bad for passengers in the coming weeks." She advises train travelers to use alternative means of transport, like the bicycle or e-bike, if possible. "That will not be an option for everyone, but for some. This may reduce the traffic on the railway and the road."