The fault that caused a major disruption to train traffic in and around Amsterdam on Tuesday evening was the result of a software error, which was caused by a unique combination of circumstances after a shoplifter fled into the Schiphol tunnel, rail manager ProRail said, RTL Nieuws reports.
ProRail established a special team to check all fire alarms that go off in the Schiphol tunnel. The rail operator hopes that this team will help stop fire alarms in the tunnel leading to chaos and hours-long delays on the track in the Randstad area, ANP reports.
Fire detectors in the tunnel often sound alarm over small and relatively harmless incidents, bringing train traffic to a stand still while the alarm is investigated. According to ProRail, the new team will check out what is going on within 10 minutes of an alarm and solve the problems themselves as far as possible.
Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat opened four of Schiphol tunnel's six lanes for Friday morning rush hour. Schiphol Airport can now also be reached directly via a turn immediately after the tunnel, NOS reports.
Technicians are still busy replacing cables in the Schiphol tunnel that were damaged by fire on Monday. Only two of the six lanes are open to motorists, which means traffic delays on the A4 from Amsterdam to The Hague during rush hour on Thursday morning, NOS reports.
The Schiphol tunnel is partially open to motorists again after being completely closed since Monday afternoon. Two lanes will be open during rush hour for motorists who want to take the A4 from Amsterdam, the Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat announced on Wednesday morning, AD reports.
The portion of the southbound A4 expressway that travels through the Schiphol Tunnel will remain closed at least through the evening rush hour period, and possibly into Wednesday, Dutch public works department Rijkswaterstaat announced Tuesday afternoon. The decision was made when engineers were unable to restart exhaust fans in the tunnel during safety testing.
The entire Schiphol tunnel from Amsterdam (A4) to The Hague is still closed on Tuesday morning following a fire on Monday afternoon. Traffic information service ANWB calls on motorists to avoid Amsterdam during rush hour and to travel to the airport by train, AD reports.
Commuters trying to navigate the Amsterdam area were advised to allow for plenty of extra time if using the highways on Monday evening after a fire in a Schiphol Tunnel passageway led to the closure of both the tunnel and the southbound A4 motorway towards Den Haag. Drivers were told to divert to the congested A2 to Utrecht, and then take the A12 road west as an alternative, adding 30 to 40 kilometers to the drive home.
There were no reported injuries in the fire, but the fire did damage safety systems in the tunnel.
Along with a few small train stations in Zeeland, the NS station at Schiphol is on the bottom of the list of reliable train stations in the Netherlands, according to a ranking compiled by RTL Nieuws and the website Vertraagd.com. One in eight trains to and from Schiphol station are delayed, and 1 in 25 never even reach their destination.
ProRail CEO Pier Eringa wants to investigate whether it is possible to have trains continue their routes after a fire due to a burning smell. According to him, a burning smell should not be enough to close down the Schiphol tunnel.