Trains on high-speed line to Schiphol will be forced to run even slower

Trains on high-speed line to Schiphol will be forced to run even slower

It has now been decided that from Wednesday onwards the speed on five viaducts will be reduced from 120 to 80 kilometres per hour. As a result, trains will be travelling for two to three minutes longer. On another viaduct, just before the Groene Harttunnel, only 80 kilometres per hour was allowed for some time. Originally, the maximum speed here was 300 kilometres per hour.

ProRail says it regrets the situation that has arisen and does not yet know what consequences this will have for the timetable. “We will keep a close eye on this in the coming days. We may be forced to run fewer trains to ensure that the timetable remains reliable.”

The viaducts are designed too light, which means that according to ProRail they are no longer stable enough to drive over at high speed. The problems have been going on for about 2.5 years, which is why ProRail has had to reduce the speed several times. As a result, the high-speed trains on part of the HSL are now being overtaken by cars on the adjacent A4 motorway.

It only concerns the part of the high-speed line that is located north of the Groene Harttunnel. South of that, there are no problems and it is possible to drive at full speed.

The NS finds the speed reduction unacceptable and speaks of a major setback. According to the train operator, it leads to “more delays for passengers and missed transfers”.

“Instead of faster, travel times are getting longer. These problems have been known for a long time, but there is still no prospect of a quick solution,” the train operator said in a statement. NS wants to discuss the problems. “If these are not resolved, the future ambitions to drive more often and faster may be jeopardized.”

The high-speed line has been a problem child for some time. For example, the Intercity Direct, the domestic train service on the high-speed line, has been the least punctual train of the NS for years. The original intention was that the travel time between Rotterdam Centraal and Schiphol would now be reduced to 22 minutes due to the influx of new and faster ICNG equipment. But due to the slow delivery of ICNGs and the various speed restrictions on the HSL, the travel time is actually increasing towards 30 minutes.