New high-speed Intercity train debuts on Amsterdam-Rotterdam route today
Dutch national railway NS is test launching its new Intercity train on the high-speed route between Amsterdam Central Station and Rotterdam Central Station on Wednesday. The rail company called it a dress rehearsal for the Intercity New Generation (ICNG), describing it as the “train of the future.”
The trains have a top speed of 200 kilometers per hour, which is only achievable on the High-Speed Line which has the capability of connecting Schiphol, Rotterdam, Breda and the Belgian border. On the main rail network, the ICNG trains will run at a maximum speed of 160 km/h.
The introduction of the train will take about seven years in total, with 99 ICNG trains eventually delivered, including 20 that should be capable of running on both the Dutch and Belgian networks. The same models are already running in Germany and France. In the Netherlands, the trains will have a combined seating capacity of about 33,000.
By actually running the train on the regular timetable, the NS said can test how it performs in practice, and the manufacturer, Alstom, can use data to solve early problems and implement further improvements, NS said. “A new train is not technically perfect immediately, and everyone has to get used to it. Travelers, but also NS colleagues who work by train,” program manager Maarten Bakker explained. That takes time. “That is why this final test phase with passengers in the timetable is so important. You don’t really know how it goes until you actually drive it.”
“Will all go well right away? Probably not,” NS CEO Wouter Koolmees said. “What we do know for certain is that the ICNG will earn its place in the Dutch landscape in the future and will symbolize all the good that the Netherlands has to offer by train.”
Bakker, too, expects some teething problems. “That’s part of it. Because we are starting with one new Intercity on one route, we can minimize the impact for travelers.” If things go well, ICNG trains will be launched on more routes in the coming weeks.
After the Amsterdam-Rotterdam route, NS will introduce ICNG on the Den Haag-Eindhoven route, the Amsterdam-Brussels route, the Amsterdam-Groningen/Leeuwarden route, and the Amsterdam Enschede route. “In the coming year, we will gradually replace the current Intercity trains on the High-Speed Line with ICNG trains,” Bakker said. “Once all current Intercity trains have been replaced, the new ones can travel at a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour from that moment on.”
In the past, there were plans to expand the High-Speed Line with two other routes. Those were to connect Amsterdam, Utrecht and Germany, and also Amsterdam, Almere, Heerenveen and Groningen.
Koolmees called the ICNG “a wonderful asset” to the NS fleet. He said it allows the company to “offer travelers more seats and more comfort in the future. We are proud that this train will debut at Amsterdam Central early on Wednesday.”