Traveler organizations not satisfied with the timetable of the new, faster IC to Brussels

From December (when the 2025 timetable comes into effect), the railway company wants to double the number of Intercity trains to Belgium. An extra, faster IC will then run every hour from Amsterdam South, which will only stop at Schiphol, Rotterdam and Antwerp on the way to Brussels South. In combination with the use of the new ICNG-B trains, which can travel at 200 kilometers per hour (40 kilometers more than the current equipment), this results in a significantly shorter travel time.

In addition, the current, slow IC will continue to operate in Brussels, with two adjustments: the starting point will now be in Rotterdam instead of Amsterdam and Belgian equipment will be used. The Intercity will continue to serve the stations that the fast IC skips: Breda, Noorderkempen, Antwerp-Berchem, Mechelen, Brussels Airport, Brussels-North and Brussels Central.

The traveler organizations are basically very positive about this plan. The fast IC reduces the travel time to Brussels by more than half an hour and doubling the number of trains also makes a lot more capacity available, which is very welcome, especially during the busy holiday periods.

Timetable not good
But implementation can be better, the organizations warn. For example, the NS has now designed the timetable for the fast IC in such a way that the driving time between Rotterdam and Antwerp is unnecessarily long and that the train then stands still for another 10 minutes at Antwerp Central station.

They also believe that the fast IC in Belgium stops at too few stations. In particular, they do not find it useful that Brussels North and Brussels Central are skipped, because many travelers from the Netherlands will then have to travel back from Brussels South on another train or the metro.

By shortening the stopping time in Antwerp and making the driving time between Rotterdam and Antwerp less generous, the fast IC Brussels could stop at more Belgian stations and be faster than the NS currently plans. The passenger organizations have come up with a plan that would fit into the timetable without getting in the way of other trains.

Train passes target
“Such a fast train is of course fantastic,” says Freek Bos, Rover’s director. “But if this train passes so many major stations, it literally misses its target. In many cases, travelers then have to transfer or travel back and are therefore not faster in practice.”

The NS will now consider this advice, together with the other advice for the new timetable. The railway company will provide an official response later this spring.