The NS needs to improve its train repair system “urgently”, report finds

Ah, our beloved NS. The Dutch train system that runs ever so smoothly – wait, what’s that? The repair system is in need of repair? Yeah, that’s about right. 🤷‍♀️

Yes, you heard that right. The Dutch national railway service’s train repair system itself needs repairing “urgently,” the NOS reports. 

According to a file retrieved from a whistleblower at the NS, the repair system for Dutch trains needs a serious revamping.

The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) also agrees and informed the NS of their need to make some important changes in a letter. 

Delays, cancellations, and more delays

While you may not realise it, we’re all feeling the effects of this. The NS is regularly underestimating the number of train parts that need servicing, contributing even more to the endless train delays and cancellations we’ve all become accustomed to. 

Remember that time a man got stuck in a train door?

It’s not just delays that we have to learn to live with, either. 

Picture this; you’re boarding the train at Amsterdam Centraal. Amongst the rush of Dutchies trying to climb onto the train (have we forgotten how trains work — people get off, and then we get on after?), when you notice someone has actually got caught in the door. 

READ MORE | Packed NS trains: complaints rise as number of trains drop

Well, this happened in August 2021, when a tourist got dangerously stuck with his arm and bag in the door and remained there until the train stopped in Sloterdijk, where other passengers helped him to safety. 

Did we know this could happen? No. Do we have a new train fear? Yes. Horrifying stuff! 

READ MORE | 10 things you’ll notice your first week in the Netherlands

The NS concluded this incident was due to bad judgement on the part of the conductor, while the whistleblower maintains that it was actually due to a technical fault in the train. 

A man was horrified when he got trapped in the door of an NS train at Amsterdam Centraal. Image: Depositphotos

Hard to figure out who’s right in this instance, but we imagine that poor tourist left Amsterdam feeling a bit put out by Dutch transport. 😓

Not the only technical fault

NS trains have been known to have issues with improperly working doors and brakes for years. For example, a train derailed in The Hague in 2020 due to the brakes being worn down. 

The train, which was intended as an intercity train, was used on a local line, and the breaks were damaged from the constant stopping and starting. 

NS wastes budget

But the company has a strategy in place for ensuring everything is fixed once a problem is flagged, right? 

Nee. According to a whistleblower report from 2019, the NS consistently wastes money in its attempts to keep trains running. 

This is due to a lack of awareness about what trains are made from what parts, as well as refusing to perform well-needed fixes until things are, literally, at breaking point. 

READ MORE | Getting a cheap Dutch train ticket: 7 tips for the best deals

The NS has also been quite unorganised regarding keeping track of which trainsets have new or renewed parts. This means that, if one part needs to be recalled, almost every train must be checked to locate this part. 

So, between all the train strikes, train schedules being cut down, and staff shortages, you’re telling us that you’re also wasting precious time and money on this?

Please. The NS may as well call itself Schiphol II at this stage. 

What do you think of the NS’s repair system? Tell us your thoughts in the comments belows!

Feature Image:Freepik
Heather Slevin
Heather Slevin
Heather is a Dublin native, addicted to catching the Luas, the Irish version of a tram, for one stop, and well used to the constant rain and shine. Seeking to swap one concrete city for another (with a few more canals and a friendlier attitude to cyclists) here she is with the Dutch Review! As a Creative Writing student, she can usually be found sweating over the complicated formatting of her latest poem or deep inside the pages of a book, and loves writing, writing, writing.
  1. NS: Having clean and workable toilets on trains would be nice also. I guess you can’t do anything about the graffiti. Compared to Japanese trains… Well, there is just no comparison.


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