Dutch working on 4 hour train from Amsterdam to Berlin

An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)
An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)

A delegation from NS, ProRail and the Dutch government are in Germany this week to make a 4 hour train trip from Amsterdam to Berlin a reality within the next few years. They hope that shorter travel times will make the rail a real alternative to flying within Europe, NOS reports.

"Both NS and Prorail and KLM and Schiphol see that the train is a good alternative for planes", ProRail CEO Pier Eringa said to the broadcaster. "Not competitors of each other, but in addition to, and instead of the plane where possible. Because it is a shame to put so much kerosene in the air for short flights." The four parties, with the support of the government, aim to give trains a much stronger position on short distances. "Not only to Berlin, but many more European cities as far as we are concerned."

Flying to destinations in Europe is often cheaper than the train. To Paris, for example, flying costs a few dozen euros while the train costs around 200 euros. "The Thalys is cheaper if you book earlier", Eringa said to NOS. "But even though the journey time may be a bit longer by train, you do not have to check in like at an airport. So we think that many people will choose the train, although we have to check whether the price can be more competitive."

To achieve shorter travel times, the European train systems must be better connected to each other. "The patchwork must become one system", Eringa said. "But there are other points too. If we are allowed to run faster on the route, that will already be better. And we we can decide together that a train does not have to stop everywhere, that will also go faster."

A major investment to speed up different routes in Europe, is not necessary, according to Eringa. This is mainly about making choices, he said. That will also be discussed in Berlin this week.