Netherlands - Older General Information

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This document acts as an archive for Recent and Future Changes prior to January 2018.

Recent changes

Electric services between Zwolle and Kampen started on 10 December 2017. Electrification of Zwolle - Almelo was completed in October 2016 and Syntus introduced electric trains from 10 December 2017.

The previous viaduct section through Delft was replaced by a 3,400 metre long tunnel section on 1 March 2015

The new 6.75 km Maasvlakte-West - Maasvlakte II (Euromax-terminal) "Buitencontour" line entered service at the end of 2012. The 50 km-long Hanzelijn connecting Lelystad and Zwolle opened on 9 December 2012. It uses Alstom's ATB system and Atlas signalling system, which is compatible with the ERTMS Level 2 standard.

The Hemboog curve opened in 2003, providing a direct connection between the Zaandam and Schiphol lines. The Utrechtboog curve opened in 2006, providing a direct connection between the Utrecht and Schiphol lines and bypassing Duivendrecht station to the southwest. Zuidbroek to Veendam (Groningen province) passenger service started in December 2011.

The Betuwe line trunk freight railway from Rotterdam to Emmerich opened for traffic in June 2007 but in mid 2008 was still only seeing limited use. Since October 2008 it is fully operational with 4 paths per hour each way.

The Sloelijn, a new electrified freight line to the Vlissingen port area, branching off the Roosendaal-Vlissingen main line near Lewedorp, opened 8 October 2008, replacing a former local line retained for this traffic.

Randstadrail is a new light rail system connecting the tramways of Den Haag and the Rotterdam metro. The Den Haag CS - Leidschendam-Voorburg - Rotterdam Hofplein/Zoetermeer line has been removed from the national rail network. Hofplein has closed and the light rail vehicles operate in a tunnel to Rotterdam Centraal station. A branch has been added to the Zoetermeer line, to Javalaan, and is being extended further to 'BleiZo' tram/train station by December 2018.

NS Hispeed launched Amsterdam - Rotterdam passenger services, branded as Fyra, over HSL-Zuid on 7 September 2009, using electric locomotives and rakes of ICR coaches at a maximum speed of 160 km/h as an interim solution. Trains are initially running from Amsterdam Centraal, pending a switch to Amsterdam Zuid once its development has progressed further. This service has since been extended to Breda, using the high speed line to south of Lage Zwaluwe. Thalys services were diverted onto HSL-Zuid from 13 December 2009, running at up to 160 km/h between Schiphol and Rotterdam and at 300 km/h from south of Rotterdam to Antwerpen. 300 km/h running with ERTMS level 2 on the Rotterdam - Schiphol section started in December 2010. The high speed Fyra service, using the much delayed V250 electric units, finally started revenue earning service between Amsterdam and Rotterdam on 29 July 2012. The service to Antwerpen and Brussels, due to start in December 2011, started on 9 December 2012. However, Fyra international services had to be withdrawn due to technical problems with the V250 units. As replacement, the former Benelux service (IC-Brussel) via Roosendaal has been reintroduced and rebranded as 'Intercity Direct' albeit now diverted via Brussels Airport. This was further diverted onto the High Speed line via Noorderkempen to serve Breda [reverse] from 9 April 2018.

The Utrecht - Amsterdam-Bijlmer section has been upgraded to 4 tracks. The Woerden - Harmelen - Utrecht section has been upgraded to 4 tracks, apart from the bridge over the Amsterdam-Rhine canal at Utrecht. Utrecht - Houten Zuid has been upgraded to 4 tracks.

In summer 2009 NS experimented for 5 days with "no timetable" operation on the Amsterdam - Eindhoven line, running 6 IC trains, 6 stopping trains and 2 freights per hour. No problems were encountered, so it will be repeated over a 4 week period in September 2010 but, unlike in 2009, with no extra staff or rolling stock rostered to cover any problems. Any further development of this concept is at a standstill owing to lack of finance.

Arriva took over operation of the Zutphen - Winterswijk, Zutphen - Apeldoorn, Arnhem - Winterswijk and Arnhem - Tiel lines from Syntus/NS and of Zwolle - Emmen from NS in December 2012. In 2013 Arriva took over Almelo - Mariënberg from Connexxion.

See also