05 December 2023, by Abi Carter

The new NS timetable comes into effect on Sunday, December 10, bringing with it changes on many major routes across the Netherlands. While the headline announcement is that there will be 1.800 extra trains every week from Sunday, there are also some routes that will be less frequently served by public transport

New NS timetable: More trains on many routes in the Netherlands

“Although high inflation and structurally different travel behaviour remain major challenges, we can offer the Netherlands a number of improvements in 2024,” said NS director Wouter Koolmees as he unveiled the new timetable. 

Chief among the changes is the fact that there will be 1.800 more trains travelling across tracks in the Netherlands every week from December 10. According to Koolmees, NS wants to better connect Breda and Amsterdam and add services and connections between major Dutch cities like The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht

From December 10, there will once again be four intercity trains per hour between major Dutch cities, during both peak and off-peak hours. On popular routes, NS is promising more connections, for instance bringing back the direct high-speed train between Breda and Amsterdam. The travel time to Berlin will also be reduced by half an hour. 

On the flip side, however, fewer trains will run on a number of routes during quieter periods. For instance, between Amsterdam Centraal and Almere Oostvaarders, the number of sprinters will reduce from four to two per hour during off-peak hours. The same will be true for the services between Utrecht Centraal and Woerden. Between Utrecht Centraal and Hoofddorp, and Hoofddorp and Leiden Centraal, the number of services per hour will be reduced to two on Fridays.

Passenger organisation says NL is just trying to cut costs

Koolmees said the new timetable is a “better fit” for passenger travel behaviour after the coronavirus pandemic. “For example, we see fewer people on the train on Fridays, while passenger numbers during off-peak hours and weekends are already reaching pre-corona levels. Tuesdays and Thursdays have become typical commuter days. All this requires a different timetable than before and more trains will run on Monday to Thursday,” he said.

However, the director of the Rover passenger organisation, Freek Bos, accused NS of seeking to cut costs and then presenting them as beneficial to passengers. “NS runs fewer trains during the weekend, while on these days there are just as many travellers as before corona. On Fridays, even fewer trains are used in a number of places than during the weekend, even though there are 50 percent more travellers on that day than during the weekend. This is completely impossible to explain to the traveller,” he said to De Telegraaf. 

Thumb mage credit: Samo451 / Shutterstock.com

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