No trains to Zandvoort F1 without extra money: ProRail, NS

Passengers on the platform at Haarlem train station
Passengers on the platform at Haarlem train stationPhoto: Nicknick_ko/DepositPhotos

If millions of euros aren't invested into upgrading railways and stations between Haarlem and Zandvoort, trains will no longer run to big events in Zandvoort like the Formula 1, NS and ProRail indicated according to a letter Haarlem alderman Robert Berkhout sent to the city council. According to a ProRail spokesperson, this is not an ultimatum, just an explanation of the actual situation, RTL Nieuws reports.

NS and ProRail expect such a rush of visitors to the Grand Prix in May next year, that they cannot safely transport them with the current four to six trains per hour. They therefore want to run up to 10 trains per hour for the Dutch Grand Prix, but major adjustments to the rails and platforms are needed to accommodate this. 

Four municipalities, the central government and the province of Noord-Holland set aside 7 million euros to make platform and rail adjustments. But city councilors and members of the Council of States in the province have not yet discussed this extra investment, so it is not yet certain that the money will actually come, according to the broadcaster. The rail companies are therefore turning up the pressure so that a decision can be made.

This is definitely not an ultimatum, a spokesperson for ProRail said to RTL. Normally two trains per hour run to Zandvoort, carrying a maximum of 1,500 passengers in total. During the Grand Prix, 40 thousand visitors are expected daily. "That is irresponsible in the current situation and may result in potentially dangerous situations", the spokesperson said. "The choice is then to ensure that there are enough trains, or not running because you cannot guarantee a safe journey."

The decisions for funding these rail and platform adjustments are expected to be made by end October, according to the broadcaster. Haarlem is expected to contribute 977 thousand euros, Bloemendaal 144 thousand euros, Heemstede 170 thousand euros, and Zandvoort 1.3 million euros. On top of that, the province of Noord-Holland will likely carry 1.45 million euros of the bill, and the central government 2.35 million euros.