NETHERLANDS Railways (NS) has postponed a major timetable change due to be introduced at the end of 2022 by a year following delays with the delivery of new Alstom ICNG high-speed EMUs caused by the coronavirus pandemic. NS will instead continue to operate the 2022 timetable in 2023. 

The trains will replace refurbished ICRm coaches hauled by 160km/h Bombardier-built class 186 Traxx MS2 locomotives on Amsterdam Central - Schiphol - Rotterdam Central - Breda and Den Haag - Eindhoven services using HSL-South. The ICNG fleet will initially operate at 160km/h, before increasing to 200km/h following the withdrawal of the Traxx fleet.  

NS planned to introduce a new structure for long-distance services by extending inter-city services from Breda and Rotterdam on the high-speed line via Amsterdam South to the east and north of the Netherlands. 

2022 timetable   

Changes due to be introduced in the 2022 timetable will still go ahead. This includes increasing the number of inter-city corridors operating at 10-minute frequencies on weekdays.  

Rotterdam - Schiphol airport, which operates via HSL-South, and Nijmegen - Arnhem Central - Utrecht Central - Schiphol airport, are among the services to see increased frequencies.  

Sprinter services operating at 10-minute intervals will also be introduced between Dordrecht and Rotterdam. NS ultimately aims to introduce a five-minute “City Sprinter” service around Rotterdam. 

The new timetable will increase frequencies on the Roosendaal - Vlissingen line, which currently runs every 30 minutes, stopping at every station between Roosendaal and Vlissingen. A new sprinter service will also be added to allow inter-city services to avoid stopping at most stations. This will result in a faster, hourly service from Vlissingen to Rotterdam and Amsterdam, while retaining the half-hourly service at other stations.  

The Leeuwarden - Meppel Sprinter service – will also be extended to Zwolle, while direct Utrecht Central - Leiden Central services will be increased. Sprinter service frequencies around Utrecht will increase and a new inter-city service will be introduced between Haarlem and Alkmaar. 

An increase in Amsterdam - London services is also foreseen to, four trains per day per direction. However, all changes are based on pre-Covid-19 passenger numbers.