NS announces double-decker train modernizations
The national railway, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), announced plans to renovate 51 trains with 204 double-decker carriages instead of replacing them outright. The firm will invest 323 million euros in the project, which will allow the cars to remain in use for another 18 years, effectively doubling their service life.
The process is almost completely circular, NS said. The trains are taken apart, and "99% of the materials are returned to the renewed train, given a second life elsewhere or recycled." The renovation of the fourth-generation VIRM trains will begin in the autumn of 2023, with the first train returning to the tracks by the end of 2025. Once the process for this prototype is fully mapped out, the other 50 trains will be taken out of service and refreshed between 2026 and 2028.
Eelco van Asch, the operations director at NS, said that the project is part of the company's plans to prepare for future passenger growth. "That is why it is important that we continue to invest in modern trains with more seats for our passengers. By modernizing these double-deckers, we kill two birds with one stone: a comfortable journey for our travelers and trains run as sustainably as possible."
A similar process started with the first generation of VIRM double-decker cars back in 2016. The 81 trains, comprised of 412 carriages, were renovated and restored over a four-year period. The process is ongoing for the second and third generation vehicles now, with the trains also getting a new livery with a large, white NS logo. There are 45 trains, or 242 carriages in all, from the second and third generation getting restored.
"Every three weeks a new, modernized train rolls out of the hall in Haarlem and returns to the timetable. This is done according to lean principles from the automotive industry," NS said in a statement.