NS implements new train timetable

Schiphol Airport station in Amsterdam
A crowded train platform at Schiphol Airport with many headed to Amsterdam on King's Day. 27 April 2018. (photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times)

Dutch rail company NS implemented its new timetable for 2019 on Sunday. While most train travelers will still be able to catch their regular train at the usual time, there are some major changes in the new timetable. Here follows a summary of the biggest changes, according to newspaper AD.

NS is now running five intercity direct trains instead of our. The trains between the Netherlands' largest cities Amsterdam and Rotterdam will also be longer. This increases the capacity on this connection by 20 percent.

The number of intercity trains running between Amersfoort and Utrecht is increasing from four to six. The number of sprinters between Amersfoort and Harderwijk is doubling from two to four in rush hour. 

The brand new Lansingerland-Zoetermeer station, located between Zoetermeer Oost and Gouda, opened on Sunday. The sprinter traveling between Den Haag Centraal and Gouda will stop at this station four times an hour. 

The intercity train between Dordrecht and Breda is largely disappearing. It will only run in rush hour, once per hour in both directions.

Den Haag Central Station will have a few more trains running late at night over weekends. On Friday and Saturday nights an extra intercity train will run towards Utrecht, departing from Den Haag Centraal until around 00:30 a.m. 

Gouda seems to be the biggest winner in the new NS timetable. The intercity trains between Gouda and Utrecht will be better distributed, resulting in travelers waiting a maximum of 10 minutes before the next intercity leaves. The travel time for sprinters between Gouda and Utrecht will be 8 minutes shorter, because the intercity Den Haag - Amersfoort will catch up with sprinter Den Haag - Utrecht at Gouda station instead of Gouda Goverwelle. Due to changes in the departure tracks ant times at Gouda station, travel times for half of the routes between Woerden and The Hague and Rotterdam Central Station will also be 8 minutes shorter. 

From April next year, the Thalys from Amsterdam will no longer stop in Lille, but at Disneyland Paris. The fast train will run twice a day and will also stop at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. 

The new timetable will be disrupted by a number of projects in the coming year. ProRail has major work scheduled on railways and stations on the Schiphol - Amsterdam Bijlmer/Arena, Den Haag HS/CS - Leiden, and Eindhoven - Maastricht/Heerlen routes. 

NS is also implementing other changes for 2019. Passengers with a disability can soon ask NS employees for help at more stations. NS Traveler Assistance will be available at eight extra stations next year - Akkrum, Olst, Amersfoort, Vathorst, Dieren, Ravenstein, Rilland Bath, Hillegom and Wormerveer. This service will then be available at a total of 127 stations.