Since 2002, customers have indicated service being better than before 2002. More than 2 billion has been invested in new equipment and new trains are gradually being put into service. NS, ProRail and the ministry are working hard on the plan for the future; 'Utilisation and Construction'.
From 2002 to 2009
The plan for the future 'Utilisation and Construction' prioritises maintenance and more intensive railway usage above large construction projects. In addition, in 2003 the first foreign concession was won. Together with its partner Serco, NS takes care of train travel around Liverpool in England.
In 2004, a new legal framework for foreign concessions and required performance came into effect. NS has been able to rely on a concession for the main rail network up until 2015. By extension, clear agreements were made with ProRail, the other partners in the railway sector and consumer organisations. The government spent more money on the improvement of the quality of the railway tracks, but raised the infrastructure levy, thereby increasing costs for the carrier and thus also the passenger. NS has to employ a selective growth strategy: invest in that which benefits the most passengers.
Utilisation and construction
Customers get more for their money. In 2007, timetables were drastically changed by the deployment of the HSL-Zuid and the Betuweroute as part of 'Utilisation and Construction'. Trains started running more frequently, resulting in shorter waiting times. Timetables became simpler and were divided into corridors as much as possible. This way, delays on one line do not affect other lines. NS presented two kinds of train: the Sprinter and the Intercity.
The Betuweroute was finished in 2007. As a result, long and slower freight trains no longer created capacity bottlenecks for passenger trains on the main rail network. Various regional and urban district networks were opened up to public tender; it is then up to the regional authorities to determine what their networks will be like. NS must decide whether and in what form it will compete.