Autonomy and core tasks (1995 - 2002)
Upon gaining autonomy NS 'inherited' a wide range of commercial activities including but not limited to freight transport and railway construction.
From 1995 to 2002
By introducing its own network, NS entered the telecommunications market together with British Telecom. All of these markets are in motion; it seems to be impossible to simultaneously compete on all fronts and to invest in ambitious developments. NS is gradually shedding activities that are not related to its core tasks. With the successful sale of its telecommunications assets, NS set up the Fonds Eenmalige bijdrage NS (FENS), which still benefits the railway sector.
From 2000, NS started to focus on two core tasks: passenger transport - including train maintenance - and hub development. Tasks that reinforce each other, since utilisation of stations and property development can be handled in ways that stimulate passenger transport and lead it in the right direction.
Stormy weather and basic quality
This new NS had a rough time in 2001. The quality of service fell as a result of a number of different factors. Customers complained and restrictions on employees led to strikes. This all occurred against a background of increasing insecurity regarding the company's position in the future. Then NS narrowly missed the punctuality norm of 80% during 2001 (79.9%) that it had agreed with the government. Around the New Year the Chief Executive, the Director of Internal and External Relations and the entire Board of Commissioners resigned.
A new direction
In 2002, the management - in its new form - brought greater focus to the course that had already been set in 2001. NS decided to focus on improvement of basic quality using 5 main objectives:
- keep trains running on time
- provide service and information
- contribute to social safety
- provide sufficient transport capacity
- keep trains and stations clean.
The Ministry of Transport gradually recognised that there were significant backlogs in the maintenance of the railway network with consequences for its reliability.