The NS is planning to speed up the journey times from the Netherlands to Berlin and Brussels by 2024.
For both journeys, running extra trains on the routes will shave off about half an hour of travel time. Currently, the train journey to Berlin takes 6 hours and 20 minutes, and getting to Brussels by train takes just under three hours.
The incoming CEO of the NS, Marjan Rintel, wants to take advantage of the global slowdown of travel due to coronavirus by shifting people from planes to trains. “We are doing the same with the start of the direct connection to London this autumn and the night train to Munich, Innsbruck and Vienna in December.”
In order to do this, significant changes need to be made to the route to Berlin, she says. “In the east it is not time for a step, but for a jump.” There needs to be a substantial update to the track between Utrecht and Arnhem, for a start. However, political will still needs to be there for improvements to the route to take place.
The reduction of travel time by 30 minutes between the Netherlands and Berlin will be made possible by eliminating the locomotive switch at the border, and not stopping at Minden and Stendal. The journey to Brussels will be made more efficient because the new trains that will be added by 2024 are able to travel above 200 km/h for some of the route. Some stops on the journey may also be eliminated.
Train travel is growing in popularity, so it makes sense for the NS to work on improving its international connections. In 2019, the amount of passengers travelling to Brussels by train increased by 14%, and to Berlin by 20%.
Which international train journey do you wish was faster? Let us know in the comments below.
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