Netherlands

Longer trains but fewer services: New NS timetable starting on Sunday

As was announced in August, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is switching to a significantly reduced timetable for 2023. With the timetable officially coming into effect on Sunday, December 11, NS has confirmed what changes travellers should expect. 

NS announces changes to train travel in the Netherlands

Over the summer, NS announced a number of cuts and changes to its timetable, saying at the time that the 2023 schedule would be gradually phased in over the course of the autumn. While ongoing staff shortages at the company mean that most of the cuts were already introduced in November, the new timetable is officially coming into effect on Sunday. 

“With the timetable for 2023, we reduce the chance of trains being cancelled at the last minute, we provide more seats where necessary and we give colleagues more peace of mind,” explained NS CEO Wouter Koolmees. “That’s our new base. And when that is in order, we can move forward step by step.” 

What you need to know about the 2023 NS timetable

The key elements of the 2023 timetable are that NS will be adding extra carriages to 30 percent of its trains, which “will result in more seats, especially at weekends and during rush hour,” and should ensure more passengers are able to take the train and travel in comfort. According to NS, this means that over the weekends there will be 10 percent more seats available. During the week, it will result in 4,5 percent more seats during rush hour.

Furthermore, between Mondays and Thursdays, a train will once again run every 10 minutes between Eindhoven, Utrecht, and Amsterdam. However, on many of the less popular routes – for example between Arnhem and Nijmegen, or Rotterdam and Breda – NS will be running fewer and shorter trains from December 11. 

Between December 27 and January 6, NS will be operating under an adjusted timetable for the holidays. In summary, this means that the company will run the same schedule during the week as on the weekends, and on New Year’s Eve, no trains will run after 8pm, with services starting up again at 10am on January 1. There will still be some trains running between Rotterdam, Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam and Utrecht.

NS still affected by Dutch labour crisis and severe staff shortages

In addition to making changes to services, the rail company is continuing its recruitment efforts in the hopes of being able to “limit the shortage of colleagues and the consequences this has for the train service.” 

On top of bring some train drivers out of some retirement and back to work, in 2023 NS wants to change the roles of some of its office workers and security guards so they’re able to fill positions on trains and at stations. The plan is for this measure to be in place as a temporary emergency solution until new workers are hired and jobs are filled.

For more information about the new timetable and to see how the changes might affect your travel plans, check the NS website.

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