What measures do we take?
A train that is delayed can easily cause trains on other routes to be delayed. NS tries to prevent or limit this as much as possible. In order to do so, we take several measures.
Changing train times on several routes
During the autumn, railways tracks can become slippery as a result of leaves, grease and oil, often in combination with moisture. The wheels then have less grip on the rails, and this affects braking and acceleration. This can sometimes cause inconvenient delays. As a result of slipperiness, the departure and arrival times on several routes will be altered by one minute from early October to mid-December. This extra minute of travel time gives the driver enough time to accelerate and brake more gradually, without creating delays that may affect other routes.
Other autumn measures
In regions where the track is relatively slippery in the autumn, ProRail and NS spray a special gel containing sand particles onto the rails in order to make them rough. Go to the ProRail website to see a film about applying Sandite (in Dutch).
ProRail also has a national network of emergency teams, contractors and diesel locomotives, that are ready to take action during exceptional weather conditions. For example, if the track or the overhead lines are damaged by fallen trees during a storm. Trees and hedges are also pruned more in the period approaching autumn.
If extreme weather has been forecast, NS and ProRail sometimes run adjusted timetables just to be on the safe side. Read more about the use of adjusted timetables on the page 'Train schedule changes'.
Dutch railways are very busy, and NS wants to run more trains and carry more passengers in the future. For this reason, additional measures to limit slipperiness and its consequences for the punctuality of trains will be investigated this autumn. To this end, various trials are being carried out involving several railway partners (Strukton, Plurel, Asset Rail, ProRail), for example, using a water spraying system and the use of lasers.