NS hopes to run more trains to UK, Germany, France and Austria
Dutch national railway NS has also filed an application to continue offering international train service after 2025. These include routes between the Netherlands and four different European countries where the NS is already involved in providing service.
The application is necessary because rail connections abroad may be left entirely to the market in the future. In order to get open access to the railroad, companies must signal their intent by Wednesday.
The NS actually believes that international train journeys from the Netherlands can best be laid down in permanent contracts with the government for services on the main rail network. Until now, the government has always awarded this concession for the majority of the Dutch rail network to NS. But the government may open up the rail network to all train travel providers who are willing and able to offer international travel, which is called open access.
To be on the safe side, the company has therefore applied before the deadline to continue offering train services to London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris. These are destinations to which NS already offers train journeys together with partners such as Thalys or Eurostar.
Recently, several smaller transport companies operating in the Netherlands have also announced their intention to offer international train journeys via open access. Qbuzz, owned by the Italian state rail operator, set out plans on Monday to run passenger trains between Amsterdam and Paris and Berlin from 2027. Deutsche Bahn subsidiary Arriva came up with a plan for trains between Groningen and Paris a week earlier.
Based on all applications, the Cabinet will decide whether the international train connections will be left up to the open market or awarded via contracts with the government. The NS is in favor of the latter because it offers more security for travelers.
“With open access, carriers operate at their own risk, so they can also suddenly stop," said a spokesperson. "And we earn between 30 and 40 million euros on those international lines. If that money goes to a foreign shareholder, it's gone. We invest this in the Dutch railroad or transfer it to the Ministry of Finance."
Reporting by ANP