Dutch Rail invests 3,5 billion euro in trains
Dutch railways, NS, has ordered another 88 Sprinter trains, worth 400.000 euro with Spanish train builder CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles), bringing the total to 200 being built there. The overall investment in renewing the train fleet adds up to 3,5 billion euro, NS president, Roger van Boxtel, told De Telegraaf.
“The first ten trains of the 118 ordered earlier with the Spanish have entered service this month and perform satisfactorily“, says van Boxtel. “The last train will be delivered in 2022.”
New intercity trains
NS also gets new intercity trains, built by French Alstom and to be delivered by the end of 2020. These trains can reach a top speed of 200 km/h on the high-speed train tracks. According to the CEO, NS has an option on several dozens of extra trains too.
“Refurbishing another 125 existing trains with new toilets for the disabled, installing power plugs and racks for bicycles, among others, will cost an additional billion euro. With the 58 Flint sprinters from Swiss Stadler in the fleet, the total investment will be 3,5 billion euro”, van Boxtel adds. Sprinters transport almost half of all Dutch travellers.
Hyper rush hours overloaded
However, the latter won’t be enough to handle the expected growth in public transport, the NS top man realizes. He thinks better spreading of the travellers is essential to prevent public transport from stalling. The ‘hyper rush hours’ from 7:30 to 8:30 h are overloaded and have to be tackled.
One way to do this is longer trains and trains following each other closer, every ten minutes. The latter is experimented satisfactorily on the Amsterdam-Eindhoven line via Den Bosch and today the Nijmegen station is adapted to do the same on the line to the airport of Schiphol.
Another means to spread the load is the price mechanism, van Boxtel explains. “A test with a 40% reduction before 7:30 h and after 8:30 h was successful. A mere 10% of the travellers is susceptible for this. It is the difference between having a seat or having to stand up. In 2019 we’ll continue with this. We got the green light from the government, who sees the benefit of more flexible working hours.”
Van Boxtel is also an advocate for combining public transport tickets for trains, buses, trams, metro, shared cars and bikes and even airplanes. “One app, one ticket, online and mobile. But this will take time.”