Friday train strike will have major consequences, says NS; Some impact on int'l routes
This article was adjusted after NS released an update about operations on Friday.
Dutch national railway NS said it expects that Friday's strike in the region around Rotterdam and The Hague will have much wider consequences than the strike earlier this week in the north of the country. Just like with Wednesday's strike, the rail operator is trying to isolate the region as much as possible to limit any impact the strike has on the rest of the timetable, but that will be far more difficult this time around.
On Friday, the NS staff will strike in Dordrecht, The Hague, Leidschendam, Leiden, and Rotterdam. This means that hardly any trains will run in that region. Labor union FNV expects a “big turnout” for Friday's NS train strike in the west of the county. “The strike continues. I expect that almost nothing will run. Very irritating for travelers,” said a spokesperson for the trade union.
In order to ensure that the rest of the timetable runs as normally as possible, the NS said it will largely abandon efforts to operate trains in the strike region. Train routes that normally cross into that area will have endpoints at the stations in Alphen aan den Rijn, Gouda, Haarlem, Hoofddorp, and Lage Zwaluwe.
This will not prevent passengers outside the strike area from being affected by the work stoppage, the NS warned. Longer travel times and more transfers must be taken into account. FNV expects the strike to have a much bigger impact than the one in the northern region on Wednesday because major nodes like The Hague and Rotterdam will be affected. Utrecht falls outside the west region.
Friday’s strike will also likely impact international trains, the union previously said. The Intercity train to Brussels will run less often, but it will stop in Rotterdam as usual. The NS expects the Thalys and Eurostar trains to run normally.
Nevertheless, NS advised travelers to postpone their journey in Zuid-Holland, or to use another mode of transportation. Passengers outside the region are also urged to check the online travel planner shortly before departure. Trains from other carriers - including the R-net services between Alphen aan den Rijn and Gouda, and between Dordrecht and Geldermalsen - will run on Friday.
The NS said it expects to be able to run according to the normal timetable this weekend.
NS staff are carrying out one-day strikes in different regions due to the failed collective labor agreement negotiations between the railway company and the trade unions FNV, CNV and VVMC. The relay strikes will last until the end of August. If there is still no collective bargaining offer that the unions are satisfied with, there will be a nationwide strike, according to the union.
According to FNV, almost all NS employees participated in the strike on Wednesday. Train traffic in the north of the country was almost completely shut down. Because travelers were well informed, the stations remained virtually empty. NS is expected to provide updated passenger information for Friday later today.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times