Amsterdam train cancellations announced this weekend as cause of shutdown is determined
The failure of a very specific piece of hardware caused the stoppage of all trains running to and from Amsterdam on Sunday. Now that the fault has been identified, the process of returning the situation to normal will result in the cancellation of all train traffic around Amsterdam starting at 11:59 p.m. on Friday night into the morning hours on Saturday.
The problem first surfaced on Sunday, June 4, in the late afternoon. All monitoring systems were down at the Amsterdam center, railroad infrastructure firm ProRail reported at the time. Attempts to bring the systems fully online failed.
The issue forced the relocation of traffic control services from the facility, located near Amsterdam Central Station, to a back-up center in Utrecht. Trains slowly began running again at about 9 a.m. the following Monday, and returned to their normal schedule five hours later.
The ensuing investigation found that a hardware component malfunctioned, which led to the software responsible for signals and switching point operation to fail. This system is supposed to be fully redundant, according to ProRail. “During the outage, however, the hardware component in question did not signal that something was wrong. This also caused the redundancy not to function correctly.”
“The defect itself has now also been sorted out and that is good news: we can go back to normal,” said ProRail CEO John Voppen in a statement.
However, returning to normal also means returning all railroad traffic operations back to the Amsterdam facility. “During this relocation, the systems in Amsterdam will be activated and the staff will also be brought from Utrecht to Amsterdam. Because the systems are down, no train traffic is possible around Amsterdam,” ProRail said.
“This will be done at night to minimize disruption to train traffic. We are doing everything we can to have everything ready when the first trains start running again on Saturday.”
Dutch national railway NS said it was investigating other options for replacement services, but said anything they might be able to offer will be limited. “The NS therefore advises passengers to arrange alternative transport or not to travel in the Amsterdam region.” The company was still busy updating its online travel planner on Thursday afternoon.
ProRail pledged to do everything possible to prevent such a situation from happening in the future.