Dutch rail operator braced for 'huge losses' on UK franchises

Dutch rail operator braced for ‘huge losses’ on UK franchises

National rail operator NS is facing big financial losses on its British operations, according to informed sources in the UK transport sector. 'NS subsidiary Abellio is making very aggressive moves which can only lead to substantial losses, which NS and the Dutch taxpayer will have to bear,' the Telegraaf quoted a top figure in the UK rail sector as saying on Wednesday. Last year NS/Abellio was fined €41m by the consumer watchdog ACM for abusing its position in tendering for rail services in southern Limburg. ACM ruled that NS had 'made a loss-making bid in order to thwart a competitor'. The NS unit now has three rail concessions in the British Isles. Abellio's aggressive approach is reflected in the extreme difference between the Dutch tender for a service and that of its nearest competitor. British rail services are exceptionally competitive, margins are tiny and the differences between competitors very small, but Abellio continues to make what are regarded as reckless bids. NS was not the highest bidder for the Scotrail concession in Scotland, but it won the Greater Anglia and West Midands contracts with bids about 20% higher than the competitors.  More >

'End of the line' for cheap flights

Dutch rail operator braced for ‘huge losses’ on UK franchises The age of cheap flights in the Netherlands may be nearing its end as Schiphol airport approaches its capacity of 500,000 aircraft movements a year, former environment minister Hans Alders has warned. Speaking at the New Year reception for the Dutch airline association, the Labour party politician who now serves as chairman of Schiphol's regional committee said there needed to be a better balance between the economy and sustainability. Lelystad Airport, which is due to relieve Schiphol by taking over some holiday flights, is not yet ready for use and its opening may be delayed for a longer period due to parliamentary pressure. Alders suggested Schiphol would have to be more selective about which flights would get landing rights, the Telegraaf reported. 'Therefore cheap flights have had their day,' he said. Intercontinental links need to be given priority at Schiphol, Alders added, because they made the Netherlands attractive to international companies.   More >

Afsluitdijk blocked as bridge jams

Dutch rail operator braced for ‘huge losses’ on UK franchises Traffic on the Afsluitdijk was held up for several hours on Monday after a bridge failed to close. Long queues built up on the A7 motorway that runs over the dike heading from Friesland to Noord-Holland after the bridge at Den Oever jammed at around midday. Traffic flowing in the opposite direction was unhindered. Engineers are on the scene but it is not clear how long it will take to fix the problem. The ANWB has advised drivers heading out of Friesland to take a diversion at Joure and use the A6 and A1 instead.   More >

Country's worst road accident spots named

Most dangerous accident sites in the country named: is your town on the list? Nijmegen's Keizer Karelplein has been named as the country's worst accident site, with 83 reported collisions in the last three years, according to research by RTL Nieuws. One driver told the broadcaster that the large roundabout, which connects six roads and has three or four unmarked streams of traffic, was a 'hell during driving lessons,' while another said a typical journey consisted of 'three near-death experiences and 294 swear words.' The A4 motorway junction at De Nieuwe Meer in Amsterdam was the most dangerous traffic spot, with 13 people killed or injured in 78 incidents over the same period. Other frequent accident scenes were the Blaakweg junction on Tilburg's ring road and the crossroads of Hildebrandtstraat and Neherkade in The Hague. Provincial roads accounted for more than half of the most dangerous locations across the country and 75% of deaths and injuries, RTL found. Bart van Wee, professor of transport policy at TU Delft, said the Netherlands had slipped down the European road safety league tables in the last 15 years. 'It seems as if road safety is no longer such a priority,' he said. Top five accident sites in the last three years (RTL Nieuws) Nijmegen, Keizer Karelplein: 83 accidents, 3 victims (deaths and injuries) Amsterdam, A4/ Knooppunt De Nieuwe Meer: 78 accidents, 13 victims Tilburg, Kruispunt Blaakweg, Ringbaan West, Ringbaan Zuid: 46 accidents, 7 victims The Hague, Kruispunt Waldorpstraat, Hildebrandtstraat, Neherkade: 45 accidents, 7 victims Roosendaal, A58/ Zeelandweg Knooppunt de Stok: 45 accidents, 0 victims        More >

Car purchase tax rises steeply

Dutch rail operator braced for ‘huge losses’ on UK franchises Several models of car are set to become more expensive in the Netherlands after new environmental impact tests showed they emitted more CO2 than previously thought. The new tests were introduced after it emerged that manufacturers such as Volkswagen and BMW were using software to manipulate the results of their emissions checks on a massive scale. Like its predecessor, the new Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Procedure is a laboratory test, but imposes more 'real-life' conditions such as temperature and tyre pressure, making it harder for manufacturers to optimise the results. The amount of CO2 in a car's exhaust is a key factor in calculating bpm, a tax imposed on sales of all new cars in the Netherlands. A survey by market research firm JATO found that the tax on many models had risen by hundreds or thousands of euros. In the most extreme case, the BMW X5 xDrive has gone up in price by €15,000 since last year. A typical mid-market car such as the Peugeot 308 SW (petrol engine) will cost an extra €2,100. The motor trade association RAI and garage owners' group Bovag has called on the government to revise the bpm tables next year to ensure car buyers are not penalised for a rule change triggered by manufacturers' duplicity.  More >