More and more people travel by train more and more often. As a result, the NS expects that the maximum capacity of the rail will be in sight in 2027, years earlier than expected. The railway company reports this on Friday during the presentations of the half-year figures.
Although the Dutch Railways will use many new trains in the short term, the rail capacity remains limited. As a result, in ten years' time the company will hardly be able to extend the timetable and will not extend trains on the busiest routes.
According to CEO Rogier van Boxtel, more capacity is urgently needed for the trains to run. "The Dutch Railways, together with the Mobility Alliance, are calling for the budget for ProRail to be made available more quickly so that they can resolve the bottlenecks in the infrastructure for 2027". The Mobility Alliance is a broad coalition of parties from the Dutch car world, the two-wheeler sector, road transport and public transport.
In the first half of 2019, the number of kilometers traveled by train increased by 4.6 percent. That is more than the 2.2 percent that the Dutch Railways had taken into account and as a result, the rail ceiling is coming into view three years earlier than expected. The growth in trains to stations such as Rotterdam Centraal, Schiphol Airport and Leiden Centraal is even greater. If the growth of the passenger-kilometer is increasing even more, then there is a chance that the track will be full in 2025, according to the Dutch Railways.
"The train is as long as the shortest platform"
Trains can no longer be extended on some busy routes, partly because crucial platforms are too short. "A train can be as long as the crust platform on the route", a spokesperson for the Dutch Railways told NU.nl. "If a platform cannot be longer than ten carriages, we cannot run trains with twelve."
The NS spokesperson mentions three processes where that is already a problem: From Lelystad via Amsterdam-Zuid to The Hague, from Amsterdam via Utrecht and Arnhem to Nijmegen. And from Amsterdam via Haarlem and The Hague to Vlissingen.
The frequency at which trains can run is also not always easy to increase, says the Dutch Railways. In the route between Rotterdam and The Hague, for example, there is only double track, one to the north and one to the south, so that Intercitys often linger behind delayed sprinters.