Dutch rail company NS is significantly reducing the number of trains running from Saturday, due to the coronavirus. From every station in the Netherlands, only two trains an hour will run in all directions, according to the new basic timetable. There will also be no night trains in the coming period, NU.nl reports.
The Netherlands awoke to a country that has largely come to a stand still on Monday morning. With businesses, schools and daycares largely ordered shut until April 6th, the roads and public transit were very quiet. As a result, both travelers association ANWB and public works department Rijkswaterstaat reported no traffic jams this morning - an unprecedented situation, NU.nl reports.
People in the Netherlands seem to be heeding Prime Minsitter Mark Rutte's call to work from home as much as possible. The train stations were "extremely quiet" on Friday morning. And there were hardly any traffic jams on the roads.
It was "extremely quiet" on the trains and a the stations on Friday morning, a spokesperson for rail company NS said to NU.nl. "We actually have not had a rush hour. We do not have hard figures yet, but conductors and employees at stations see the call to work from home and not to go out has been answered."
Arriva travelers between Friesland and Groningen will soon no longer have the option to pay more for extra comforts. The first class sections on Arriva trains on the line between Leeuwarden and Groningen will disappear as of December 13th, the transit company and the two provinces announced, NU.nl reports
By replacing the first-class coupes there will be more room to improve second class, Arriva said. Passengers traveling in second-class compartments on the Leeuwarden-Groningen line will have access to folding tables and USB ports to charge their phones after December 13th.
National railway NS is releasing a new app to provide better information and assistance to passengers with a visual impairment. The app takes the most current information available on platform screens and provides in a manner which can be more easily read by those who have difficulty seeing the digital boards.
“I can now determine for myself which train departs from a platform and check whether I am in the right position,” said Peter Waalboer in a press release issued by NS. He was one of the app’s early testers. “This makes my train journey a little more independent.”
Strong winds continue to blow along the coast of the Netherlands on Tuesday. Schiphol warned travelers that this can lead to more canceled and delayed flights. Travelers association ANWB also warned road users to be aware of the strong winds and adjust their driving behavior accordingly.
By 7:20 a.m., Schiphol reported 47 canceled departures, 51 canceled arrivals, and dozens of delays on its website. There are also many gate changes for departures, so travelers are advised to check their flight information carefully.
Public works department Rijkswaterstaat expects that rain will cause problems on the roads during rush hour on Monday evening. NS is still dealing with a number of problems caused by winter storm Ciara on Sunday, so train travelers can also expect a busy commute.
"Traffic jams can be somewhat longer than normal, because rain calls for adjusted driving behavior," Rijkswaterstaat said on Monday afternoon. "We expect a busy rush hour in the evening."
Winter storm Ciara, which hit the Netherlands on Sunday and was still causing traffic problems on Monday morning, was stronger than expected, according to a Weeronline meteorologist Yannick Damen. The strong winds caused damage across the Netherlands, mainly in the form of blown down trees, house facades, and roof tiles. But as far as is known, there were no major incidents, NOS reports.
The last bits of winter storm Ciara is still affecting all types of traffic in the Netherlands. Hundreds of flights are canceled at Schiphol for Monday. NS reports a dozen problems on the tracks. And ANWB and Rijkswaterstaat warn of a very busy morning rush hour on the road. Commuters are advised to keep an eye on weather reports and travel planners.
Meteorological institute KNMI still has a code yellow weather warning in place for the whole country, warning of strong winds with gusts up to 100 kilometers per hour. The wind is expected to die down by late morning.
Work will be carried out on the railways around Leiden Central Station from Saturday 8 to Sunday 16 February. This is expected to cause train traffic problems throughout the Randstad. NS and travelers' organization Rover urge train users to check the travel planner regularly and not to travel during peak hours. "Don't expect your trip to go as normal," NS said, NU.nl reports
FvD leader Thierry Baudet said that he was "too quick, and too firm" with posts on social media on Friday, in which he said that "Moroccans" were harassing two female passengers on a train. The "Moroccans" turned out to be NS employees and a police officer in civilian clothing, checking the two women's tickets. The police are looking into whether they will press charges against the populist politician, a spokesperson for the National Unit said to RTL Nieuws.
Rail company NS denied a claim FvD leader Thierry Baudet posted on social media about female passengers being "seriously harassed by four Moroccans on a train" on Friday evening. According to the rail company, Baudet's "Moroccans" were NS employees and a police officer checking the two women's tickets, NOS reports.
The NS timetable for 2021 will entail hardly any changes for most domestic travelers. The changes are mainly on a regional and international level. The biggest change is a new night train to the Austrian capital of Vienna, AD reports.
The number of passengers who are satisfied with traveling by train increased again last year, according to a survey by rail company NS among 46 thousand passengers. Last year 89 percent of travelers gave the train service a score of 7 out of 10 or higher, compared to 86 percent in 2018, NOS reports.
This puts NS' traveler satisfaction level well above the 74 percent satisfied mandated by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. According to NS, travelers in particular appreciated the new, modern trains and the NS app last year.
Representatives of five prominent European cities are looking into a night train which would stretch all the way from Amsterdam to Helsinki. The train route would conceivably stop in Hamburg, Copenhagen and Stockholm along with the Dutch and Finnish capitals. The cities' governments have reportedly put this project on their political agendas.
A train passenger and her child were struck by a collapsed window after people threw rocks at their train car on Thursday. Police said two boys were arrested walking along the train tracks in Heerhugowaard soon after the Thursday afternoon incident.
The train was pelted with rocks at about 12:30 p.m. near Hectorlaan in the Noord-Holland town as the train was approaching the station. Police said they are looking to interview the mother and child, but they have not made contact with authorities.
A 68-year-old man was arrested for leaving a jerry can in an empty train in Leeuwarden on Thursday, prompting the evacuation of the entire train station. He is suspected of arson, the police said.
The police suspect that the man wanted to either start a fire or cause an explosion in the train. He is in custody for questioning.
A motorist was killed in a collision with a train at a guarded rail crossing in the Limburg town of Haelen on Wednesday evening. The passenger of the car was rushed to hospital with serious injuries. None of the people on the train were hurt, the police said in a statement.
The accident happened at around 7:45 p.m. on the level crossing on Roermondseweg in Haelen, near Roermond. So far nothing is known about the victims' identity.
If substantial investment is not made into climate-proofing the Dutch rail network, the consequences will be felt in the form of more rail traffic disruptions in the near future, according to ProRail. Especially extreme heat and heavy rain can cause problems, Onno Hazelaar and Stefan Jak of ProRail said to Trouw.
Police working at the Amsterdam Sloterdijk train station arrested a suspect for allegedly making bomb threats. The threats were made by a person inside a train early Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Dutch national railway NS told media outlets.
“No explosive was found,” police said in a statement.
Authorities were dispatched to the station before 12:15 p.m., and police confirmed they were responding to a suspicious situation about 15 minutes later. The arrest was made and the situation was resolved by 12:40 p.m., police said.
NS is struggling with a national outage affecting its travel information on Wednesday morning. As a result, the travel information on signs at NS stations and on the NS app may be incorrect, the rail company said on its website on Wednesday morning.
There seems to be no way to determine which information is incorrect. Confused travelers can rely on information from conductors.
The foundation of the Dutch rail network is in many places not suitable to run trains faster and at higher frequency, a spokesperson for ProRail confirmed to NU.nl after TU Delft professor Rolf Dollevoet raised concerns in the Telegraaf. If the rails become even busier, some parts of the foundation could collapse.
The government can solve the nitrogen emission problem by making public transit a more attractive option with a massive investment, according to NS and ProRail. The rail manager and -company propose that the government invest over 20.6 billion euros in the railways until 2040, for dozens of improvements, AD reports.
The organizations want to shorten the travel time from Leeuwarden and Groningen to the Randstad by making adjustments to the Hanze line, for example. Train journeys from Twente, Nijmegen and Vlissingen can also be up to 30 minutes faster with specific adjustments
The government, ProRail, NS, Schiphol and the Amsterdam Transport Region are very nearly at an agreement regarding the expansion of Schiphol train station. The renovations, which will include larger access gates and a new bus station, are scheduled to start in 2022 and expected to cost some 500 million euros, AD reports based on draft plans the newspaper got a look at.