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The Hague makes urgent appeal to keep ordinary trains to Belgium

Thursday 18 October 2012

The Hague city council has made an urgent appeal to parliament in an effort to ensure ordinary train services remain between the political capital and Brussels.

From December, direct train services between Antwerp, Brussels and The Hague will be stopped, when high-speed trains take over the route. But the high-speed service does not stop in The Hague.

This means people wanting to travel to Belgium must change to the more expensive service in Rotterdam.

Direct connection

'It is an unbelievable and shocking fact that the political capital of the Netherlands, where dozens of international organisations, courts and corporate headquarters are based, will no longer have a direct international train connection,' transport alderman Peter Smits said in his letter

It is a 'serious blow' to the region's international accessibility, Smits said.

He wants parliament to ensure ordinary train services continue until high-speed services from The Hague are completed.

Parliament earlier agreed to suspend ordinary services if an alternative is available, but that will not be the case by December 9.

Train tickets to Belgium set to soar in price

Will this affect you? Have your say using the comment box below.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

No it doesn't effect me but it's nice to know that the govermernt has to compromise along with the Dutch people.

By dee | 18 October 2012 2:31 PM

I have recently spent three weeks travelling through Europe on an Interrail card. Knowing the supplements charged by NS for the Thalys service I used the Intercity service to Belgium. In France I paid an average supplement of 2-4 euros for TGV, in Germany and Austria nothing extra for ICE/Railjet. An Australian family of 4 I met in Italy told me NS charged 80 euros per person for them to travel from Amsterdam to Paris on Thalys! No wonder they want to scrap the regular Intercity trains! Ka-ching...

By Bill C | 18 October 2012 3:42 PM

Talk about shooting oneself in the foot! Hopefully, Peter Smits observations on The Hague's status (the political capital of the Netherlands with dozens of international organizations, courts and corporate headquarters) will persuade the Dutch Parliament to address the matter. Actually, the high speed train should serve The Hague as well.

By Steve Fitzsimmons | 18 October 2012 4:02 PM

I took the Intercity train just recently.

It's a shame it will be replaced by the high speed service.

The HS service will shave a mere hour off the journey and you will be forced to reserve a seat.

Whereas with the Intercity you can just hop and hop off as you like.

This change will make travelling by train between Holland and Belgium far less flexible.

By Chris | 18 October 2012 4:13 PM

Peer Smits says it is unbelievable and shocking ...what is? That you are just figuring this out now? With only 2 months left??

By Annette | 18 October 2012 4:24 PM

I would like to include here that besides the very important reason that there should be a direct connection between our two political city's, the new train is also very bad news for students. I am a student from Amsterdam, studying theatre in Brussels, and I will not be able to use the new Fyra: because it is just to expensive! And another argument: his will make people take the car instead of the train!

By Sarah van der Vlerk | 18 October 2012 5:11 PM

Even if the Fyra stopped in Den Haag it's as useless train service that is late half the time and does not run the other--and for that "service" we are expected to pay a supplement? If this is passed and the only way to Belgium is with the Fyra that will be one destination I will not be making anymore...Fyra cannot compete with the ICE trains and you can often get good deals to Köln and Berlin if you book a bit in advance.

By Michael K | 18 October 2012 5:26 PM

Why on earth do the Dutch want to go to Belgium?

By Terence Hale | 18 October 2012 5:33 PM

Terence,because is a beautiful country ,with mountains,real cuisine ,a lot of attractions etc etc etc?

By Ardennes | 18 October 2012 6:36 PM

@Terrence - The beer is better.

By Nika | 18 October 2012 6:45 PM

@Michael: as an almost every-weekend traveller to Cologne n back, I can assure you that the ICE is not that great either. Esp. the stupid problem when 40% of the time while crossing the border, the train can't successfully "switch" from Dutch to German power or vice-versa

The Fyra is a new service and will have teething issues for years for sure.

That said: Personally: I vote for options. Keep the Beneluxtrein and don't force Fyra for everyone. Or is NSHispeed afraid that Fyra Benelux will make a loss since everyone will take the Beneluxtrein !?

By Neil | 18 October 2012 6:55 PM

The argument is half-true only: even with a change of trains in Rotterdam Centraal, it will STILL be 34 min FASTER to use Fyra from someone coming from Den Haag.

For passengers departing from R'dam, time saved is 43 min. From Amsterdam, whooping 67 minutes (on a "mere" 3h15 current travel time).

So time savings are substantial and well worth the price.

It would still be possible to travel on cheaper trains with 2 changes in Roosendaal and Antwerpen.

By Andre L. | 18 October 2012 9:14 PM

Outrageous! Why should the cheaper services be stopped? Money minded people.

By Ragha | 18 October 2012 10:37 PM

Love the fact that you have "Hispeed" advert next to this aricle Brussels from 29 euros not in the future.

By Jim | 18 October 2012 10:54 PM

sounds like the Dutch have republicans running their trains, poor people cant afford it, so what, it's just a bad idea all around

By glassbender | 19 October 2012 3:11 AM

Instead of making the public transport cheaper and more accessible, NS wants to make it expensive. Infact they should reduce the price and increase the train frequency, only then we can reduce our CO2 footprint.

By Arvind | 19 October 2012 8:05 AM

Since one can easily work with a mobile device an hour time savings is just about irrelevant. It seems the way to make the hi-speed line profitable is to eliminate competition from the convenient regular trains. Bummer.

By Puck | 19 October 2012 8:20 AM

This is outrageous!
I am a regular commuter and this makes no sense at all. There are far more people on the regular train than fyra, and the steep price and reservation obligation of fyra doesn't make this an option at all.
Public transport should get people to leave their car, not take the car as a last resort. Also, loads of NL people also take the international train for national destinations.
And with 2 months before implementation, what happened to communication? This is a ridiculous idea in every possible way.

By Mich | 19 October 2012 8:55 AM

It is ridiculous. The Hague is getting more and more isolated, even from Amsterdam. When they discontinue the Brussels service, the fastest connection between the 2 capitals will be 48 minutes plus the usual delays! Longer than the Rotterdam-Amsterdam connection. Congratulations NS, before, you made little sense, now you just make none!

By phantom | 19 October 2012 9:37 AM

This proves that Den Haag is infact still a Big Village! Once the city hall will decide to invest in order to meke it more like a metropolis then it will be connected with the big towns!

By Marco | 19 October 2012 2:28 PM

You hit the nail in the head, Marco. That's exactly where it's going. The International City of Peace, are you kidding me? All the international staff find themselves traped in this village. First we lost the Thalys, then the hourly direct train to Amsterdam and now the Hispeed to Brussels...

By phantom | 19 October 2012 3:49 PM

So FYRA have now been "granted" a monopoly for the Brussels-Amsterdam route. This is not in the interest of the consumer or consumer choice. If one wants to get there in two hours , the talys is currently available to that , which is great. But like most people if your happy with a slightly slower (3 hours is still pretty good), regular (every hour) , very flexible hop on hop service ,customer friendly and affordable service, that's now been taken away and replaced with a "better" vastly more expensive, less regular, less flexible (have to book in advance) service. Slightly flabbergasted that profiteering is alive as well in a "regulated space"

By uknow | 20 October 2012 12:31 PM

Fyra can be LESS expensive if one books the Supersaver fares.

Even Thalys on its lowest fares is already cheaper for Amsterdam or Schiphol to Brussel services (but not to Antwerpen or from Rotterdam).

So Fyra will bring Supersaver fares that are CHEAPER than the regular Benelux fares.

In any case, it is not possible to retain these old trains because their locos reached their lifetime limits and need to be retired, and the rail cars used on these services are outdated as well.

By Andre L. | 20 October 2012 3:19 PM

Why are you posting all of these warped things about trains and cars? You go by the name suburbanist on another forum, but I don't get it. You want holland turned into a highway, but you are fascinated with high speed trains. i think your game is that we should drive in cars for everything, and only use the trains for 2-3 hour distances only. It is nice that you keep on message, but please go back to your troll cave. TROLL.

By Kevin | 20 October 2012 8:55 PM

You're right glassbender, they indeed must be Republicans.

Let's keep it like the Democrats would like it to be, government subsidy to travel, supplemented with food stamps to eat on the train and let's not forget free birth control pills when they reach their destination, just in case.
Surely, those nasty Republicans need to be taught a lessen when they question the entitlement programs.

By Hank Kemp | 21 October 2012 5:09 AM

Dear Andre, are you by any chance employed by Fyra or Thalys? I use this NS train twice a week & it's by far the most comfortable & at a value for the price charged....for frequent commuters, booking in advance with a reserved seat is simply not an option

By Daniel B. | 21 October 2012 11:18 AM

As a monthly traveler to London (via the Eurostar from Brussels), I will now be flying from Schiphol. It's half the cost of the new outrageous NS fares that are being instituted and I don't have to change trains twice just to get to Brussels.

It's disgraceful that the Netherlands has the worst and most expensive train service in Europe, considering far poorer countries that are neither small nor flat manage to provide much more reliable and inexpensive service.

By Laurel Avery | 21 October 2012 4:03 PM

@Laurey Averey: which other countries in Europe have "much more reliable (rail) services"? Netherlands has a lot of rail services considering its area and population. NS actually makes a small profit, so it is well-run (contrary to money pits called HTM and GVB)

@Daniel B.: commuters know the days in which they ought to travel in advance, so they can book a lot of tickets in advance, just like that. I think NS-Hispeed will come with some smartphone app to facilitate the purchase of tickets as well.

In any case, for people who are complaining about lack of flexibility, there are 2 highways/expressways linking all cities and you can all drive. No tolls charged.

By Andre L. | 21 October 2012 10:37 PM

I repeat what I wrote before: the locomotives used to pull the Benelux trains are exhausting their useful life and will be retired. So to keep a "slower" train running would mean making other multi-million investments to replace them.

The train cars are also outdated: they don't have wi-fi, they don't have in-train LCD monitors with information, old seats and outdated restrooms. They need to be retired as well.

By Andre L. | 21 October 2012 11:00 PM

@Andre L.

Oohhh Pleassseeee . Try and come with a better argument for loss of flexibility(and frequency)of this "new improved service" rather than just using ones car lol. The main reason people like the current service is the flexibility. Bottom line is most products constantly evolve to better service the customer and of course make the provider profit. Here we have a service that's vastly going south of what is currently there and we're being charged more. Something is very broken here.

By uknow | 22 October 2012 11:49 AM

Something that had worked well for many years is now made into something needlessly complex in order to drive profit for narrow interests. Will a coalition of VVD/PvDA mean the Ministerial-end of Melanie Schultz van Haegen and the small private interest she represents?

By Chek-IN / Chek-OUT | 22 October 2012 5:47 PM

Right on cue Andre! Is it really a good idea to let everyone drive? When the highway fills up, what then? More and more and more lanes. This isn't about wifi, LCD screens, or reducing time travel. It's about ensuring the automobile is cheaper and more convenient than the train. Once again our ideologue transport minister strikes.

By Kevin | 22 October 2012 8:26 PM

I love Melaine Schultz, but she has nothing to do with the scheme being rolled out anyway. Actually neither does Carmel Eurlings. The HSL-Zuid/4 franchise was sold to the operators in 2004, during the Balkenend 1st term...

@Check-IN/Check-OUT: things evolve. By your "it's working, don't change it" token, trains would still be steam-powered. SPEED is everything, it's 2012 for sake. Does anyone want to go to R'dam Haven take a cruise ship to New York instead of flying?

By Andre L. | 22 October 2012 11:07 PM

This a very late reaction to plans which are already known for years. We have protested in line with the article and the other comments, but in vain. Only pressure will help I guess.

By joris witkam | 23 October 2012 9:31 AM

@ Andre L
I am enjoying reading your posts :)
Speed is important but not everything (and Thays already gets one there in two hours). Usability of the service is of equal importance, which translates into hop on hop off access,affordable cost to customer and frequency, something which diminishes considerably in the new approach. On the speed topic as you say, we need to progress,but this should be no more than a natural evolution of the service, and should not have considerable impact on price,frequency or flexibility. If does it's being done wrong.

By new | 23 October 2012 3:40 PM

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