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. As a result of slipperiness, the departure and arrival times on several routes will be altered by one minute from mid-October to mid-December. This extra minute of travel time gives the engineer enough time to accelerate and brake more gradually, without causing delays.
Other autumn precautions
In regions where the rails are often slippery in autumn, Prorail and NS spray the rails with a special gel containing sand particles to keep the rails gritty. See the ProRail website to watch a video about the application of Sandite. Or watch how we make square wheels round again.
ProRail also has disruption teams, contractors, and diesel locomotives stations around the country to respond to extreme weather-related situations, such as when the power lines are damaged by falling trees during a storm. Trees and shrubs along the rails are pruned in preparation for the coming of autumn.
Crossings closed longer
When the rails are slippery, trains cannot brake as easily. In order to prevent trains from sliding through a stop and coming to rest in a crossing, we adjust the timing for five crossings during autumn. When the train arrives at the station, the crossing behind the station closes faster than normal in order to prevent unsafe situations at the crossings. This means that drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians may have to wait a bit longer at rail crossings.
When extreme weather is forecast, NS and ProRail may choose to prevent gridlock on the rail network by implementing a revised timetable for inclement weather. Read more about timetable changes at ‘Timetable revisions’.