Dutch trains to start return to old timetables within 2 weeks
Dutch national railway NS plans to gradually restart its regular timetables starting on May 3 less than a week after the government begins to ease lockdown restrictions in the country, the company announced on Thursday. NS revealed they are aiming to have 98% of their trains operating regularly again by mid-June.
It is currently operating about 90% of its scheduled service.
From May 3, more trains will be used again on routes where the most travelers are expected, for example between Rotterdam and Utrecht. All trains are expected to be running again by June 14, with the exception of the night trains and extra commuter trains normally intended for rush hours. Demand during overnights and rush hours is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-June.
"We want nothing more than to keep the Netherlands accessible and to bring travelers to their destination. With the reopening plan presented by the Cabinet, we are now preparing to go back to our old regime, so NS can welcome travelers with open arms again when that moment comes," CEO of NS Marjan Rintel stated.
The company also stated that if passenger numbers continue to grow and nightlife become possible again, the full schedule could be restored. With a reduction in the number of people traveling by rail, many trains are currently running with fewer cars than normal but they will be made longer again if necessary.
"In this way, we want to ensure that every passenger can count on a seat on the train at this time. It will increasingly happen that travelers will be seated next to each other. We understand that it takes some getting used to," NS stated.