Dutch rail presents train stations of the future (update)
Dutch rail manager, ProRail, is going to invest 3,5 billion euro the coming ten years. The money is intended for the construction of new and more comfortable existing train stations and state-of-the-art stations of the future, a ‘mobility hub’ where you don’t ‘wait for a train anymore’. ProRail CEO, Pier Eringa, presented the plans on Wednesday.
30 extra stations in 10 years
Some of the 402 station will be expanded, like the busiest ones of Amsterdam and Schiphol, others will be refurbished. There will be more waiting room and more places in the bicycle shelters.
On top of that, some twenty or thirty new stations will be built the coming ten years. A necessary decision, according to Eringa, to cope with the 30 to 40% extra passengers the company expects. In the Netherlands, more and more people opt for the train for climate reasons.
Rail manager, ProRail, and the Dutch public transport company, NS, also want to use more modern techniques to make public transport more attractive for passengers. “We want to install extra escalators and smart sensors. We also want to offer digital traveller’s information.
The ‘station-of-the-future’ will have four stages or layers, each with a different functionality. The first layer will be used for the basic function of a station: travelling.
Pedestrians then will be taken to the platforms on the second floor by elevators. Glass walls will separate the platform and the railway itself. Only when the train arrives, the gates in the walls will open to let passengers on and off the train.
Transferring from one train to another will happen at the platforms at the second floor. The transferring platform will actually be a mobility hub and a station hall at the same time, accessible for taxis and (shared) bicycles, Segways or pods.
Social functions and lodging facilities
The third layer is the central meeting space, where several social functions of the city are gathered. People will be able to work in temporary offices, seek medical advise, take a walk or visit a restaurant.
The fourth stage, to conclude, will offer lodging facilities, with rooms as far away as possible from all commotion. The entire building will be built with sustainable and recycled materials.
By 2030, ProRail wants to be completely self-supporting when it comes to energy, with huge solar farms on the roofs. And to avoid noise nuisance for the neighbourhood, the company is going to install baffle boards made of natural elephant grass. The latter is locally produced and absorbs more CO2 than other plants or trees.
According to the Dutch rail manager, all stations will be organized in a way that travelling independently is perfectly possible for everybody, even for the disabled.
The future stations will be smart thanks to several innovations. According to the ‘Station NXT’ study ProRail presented on Wednesday, the Station 2028 – as the future station is called – will be connected. It will link travel information to smartphones and smart watches.
It will ‘listen’ to passenger’s needs. Traffic information will be linked to traveller’s apps, so the passenger can anticipate delays. Even ordering a free place in the bicycle shelter or ordering coffee and a bun will be a piece of cake.
“We already dealt with the largest stations, so now we have to focus on the regions”, he adds. Freek Bos, director of traveller’s organization, Rover, agrees. He also thinks “a station needs to be a transfer point, where people easily change to train, bus and bicycle. Especially in the regions.”
“The coming years, we have to increase capacity”, Eringa continues. “We need more and more frequent trains, a better occupation of the railway and more spacious stations and platforms.”
ProRail owns more than 400 stations in the Netherlands. 350 of them are small to middle-sized, and most of them are situated outside the metropolises. In the meantime, many of the 50 largest stations – like Utrecht, Rotterdam, Den Haag, Eindhoven and Breda – already got a make-over.
Meanwhile, ProRail is looking back at some satisfying results. In 2018 more than 91% of trains arrived on time. Even the high-speed trains did will, with 82,7% arriving on time. The Dutch trains are among the most punctual in the world. The contrast with the Belgian trains is striking…