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The network of the future

NS wants to ensure that everyone has access to the train network. No matter where you are, of course you'd like to be able to catch the train quickly and easily and then travel anywhere. For someone in Haarlem or Zwolle, this is often no problem at all - your gateway to the rest of the Netherlands and Europe is just around the corner. However, we also want to see more regional residents on board. A third of our passengers board trains at smaller stations. No matter where you're travelling to, the train can always be an essential part of your journey.


Travelling between cities in the Netherlands: faster and more frequently

It sounds arrogant to say that you're among the world's top three train companies, so we're not going to do that. In 2018, 86% of our travellers gave us a score of 7 or higher, with an 8 more often than a 7! Our punctuality score is 92.6%, satisfying the government's requirements. However, we are not resting on our laurels. Instead, we are planning to make another great leap forward in the coming years, especially since the railroads are becoming increasingly busy.

Connecting large cities and regions

With faster Intercity trains, we are connecting all of the large cities and regions with each other in the Netherlands and abroad, with a maximum speed of 200km/h in the Netherlands. At the moment, there is a fast connection between the major cities four times per hour in principle. Travellers within the Randstad can make door-to-door journeys within an hour, no matter where they are.

The Intercity trains between medium-sized and small towns provide effective and close connections, and a fast, direct train travels to the Randstad at least once every thirty minutes. Intercity trains travel direct to the Randstad from every part of the Netherlands. We consult closely with governments and passenger organisations about the supply of Intercity and Sprinter trains and any additional facilities, to ensure that these better meet the needs of travellers.

In the coming years, travellers can expect:

  • New trains: Up to and including 2024, NS will be investing a total of around €4 billion in new Intercity and Sprinter trains, among other things. The Intercity New Generation will be hitting the rails in 2021.
  • High-frequency travel: After 2020, NS wants to offer travellers between Schiphol, Utrecht and Arnhem high-frequency Schiphol-Leiden and Dordrecht-Rotterdam (Sprinter) connections. We want to increase the number of Intercity trains between Breda, Tilburg and Eindhoven from two to four per hour.
  • Timetable expansion: We will increase our services by continuing to expand the timetable.
  • High-speed line: The HSL-Zuid is an essential part of the main rail network, providing more connections within the Randstad and across the border.
  • More frequent opportunities to sit in the train: By planning our train deployment in a smarter way, we will be able to offer travellers more seats in the train. We are also exploring ways of making it more financially attractive to travel outside of rush hour.
  • Better utilisation of the tracks: Despite the fact that many sections of track are already full, we do see opportunities for running more trains on existing tracks.
  • Investment in infrastructure: To accommodate the increase in traveller numbers, around €18 billion will be needed up until 2040 for investment in existing and new infrastructure. This will amount to around €1 billion per year spread over the next 20 years.

Travelling frequently and flexibly in and around the Randstad

Cities is more popular than ever; we enjoy living and working in them, or visiting them for a day out. However, the livability and accessibility of our cities are under pressure. In city centres, 40% of the public space is swallowed up by cars. Space is hard to come by. The housing challenge raises serious issues for the city, for travel and for public space.

Around the four major cities there is demand for public transport that is within easy reach and runs frequently. By consulting more closely with city transport operators in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, NS wants to connect the metropolitan areas with more close-knit and high-frequency transport, thus better connecting local and national transport with each other.

Lighter Sprinter: NS City

NS sees opportunities in the future for different Sprinter concepts in the metropolitan area. We are investing a new lighter Sprinter concept called NS City. this lightweight train runs more often per hour, can service shorter stopping distances and runs on mixed or specially dedicated infrastructure.

Flexible, customised travel in quieter parts of the region

Particularly in the quieter parts of the Netherlands, we can help travellers much more effectively if we join forces and consult more closely with regional partners and support innovative ideas from the mobility market. In this, we offer more customised Sprinter services and other types of customised transport. By offering supplementary mobility services, we meet the specific needs of travellers (Mobility as a Service). Examples include the shared car, self-propelled vans or the e-bike that takes you to your closest station. Alternatively, you can park your car in the P+R carpark at that station. We offer this in conjunction with our partners, such as a national network of affiliated taxi companies. In addition, by upgrading more than 200 regional stations, we aim to make greater use of the power of local communities.

Faster and more frequently to European cities

Our ambition is to double international rail traffic until 2030. For this reason, NS, together with its international partners, is connecting core international economic areas faster and more frequently by train in order to offer an attractive alternative to short-haul flights and the car. Better international train improvements deliver more than just environmental and time benefits. The major cities are the knowledge and economic centres. By providing effective rail connections between them, we not only strengthen the competitive position of the Netherlands, we also also increase Europe's competitive position as a whole. Some action is still necessary for this, such as modifications to the infrastructure in Germany and the Netherlands, and expansion of platform capacity in Brussels. Realising faster international rail connections requires effective cooperation and forging connections between different national interests and rail systems. All of this together does not make for an easy task, which is why NS wants to take the lead by fulfilling a stimulating and connecting role. Politicians can make the train a more attractive alternative to air travel by investing in infrastructure and pursuing a stimulating fiscal policy.