NS knew since 2018 that Eurostar couldn't run during Amsterdam CS renovations: report
NS has known for five years that the Eurostar train to London wouldn’t be able to run during the work at Amsterdam Central Station, passenger association Rover told the Telegraaf. NS didn’t deny it, according to the newspaper.
“We already warned NS and ProRail in 2018 not to throw away the old shoes until there were new ones,” Rover director Freek Bos said, referring to the decision to demolish the Eurostar terminal before the temporary replacement was ready. As a result, the international train to London will be unable to run for seven to eleven months starting in June next year. “They did not follow that advice.”
According to Rover, mismanagement at NS and ProRail chases train passengers to London onto a plane at a time when the whole world is pushing sustainable train travel as an alternative to short flights. The Eurostar between Amsterdam and London can transport about 5,000 travelers daily, more than 20 full planes.
“It is unprecedented that this problem arises,” Bos told the newspaper. “Of course, you may be hindered by a renovation, but if you plan it well logistically, a lot is possible. They failed to do this, and just when many people have moved from the plane to the train, this happens. That’s how you chase them right back in.”
The Eurostar can’t simply be moved to another station. It requires a customs post - passport checks have been necessary since the Brexit in 2017 - other platforms aren’t long enough, and it has additional security requirements. But NS and ProRail have known all this for years. “If you know that, then you make sure you have everything in order. They had a total of six years to do that,” Bos said.
Carola Belderbos of NS told the Telegraaf that she understands the disappointment. “We are also unhappy with this and would have preferred to keep it running, but unfortunately, that is impossible. We have done our best to look for alternatives, but it is all too complex to get done.”
ProRail also regrets the course of events, a spokesperson said. “We really investigated all alternatives, including raising the platforms in Rotterdam. But the solution was nowhere to be found, so we reached the outcome with the parties involved not to run the train.”