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High-speed train officials meet, minister blames teething problems

Friday 14 December 2012

Senior railway officials from the Netherlands and Belgium are meeting on Friday in an effort to solve the problems facing the high-speed train service Fyra, according to media reports.

Since last Sunday, the Fyra service has provided the only direct link between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Brussels but has been beset by cancellations and delays.

On Thurday, Dutch MPs debated the problems with junior infrastructure minister Wilm Mansveld, who said it was still to early to draw any conclusions. ‘But if the problems continue, I will talk to the companies concerned,’ Mansveld said.

The Hague

MPs are also angry that The Hague is not a stop on the high-speed line and there is no direct link between the political capital and Brussels. This breaks earlier agreements. The Hague city council is currently exploring alternative options to create a permanent link.

In addition, a majority of MPs want changes to the compulsory reservation system which the Fyra operates, which make it impossible to turn up and get on a train and causes problems with missed connections.

Mansveld said she is not in a position to force train companies to scrap the reservation rule, introduced to ensure all passengers had a seat – necessary for safety reasons.

Earlier stories
More problems for high-speed train service to Brussels

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (10)

Did the managers take the train to The Hague? Where did they change? In Leiden?

By phantom | December 14, 2012 1:55 PM

Surely each train should have a proportion of seats available for "turn up and go" passengers? Once the train is full closing the doors will stop anyone else getting on.

By Andrea Hammond | December 14, 2012 4:55 PM

this whole thing is ridiculous... the old intercity was fantastic and i used it several times. If I need to go to Brussels from now on I will use Eurolines (since I have to book in advance anyhow)

By the_expat | December 14, 2012 7:12 PM

@Andre Hammond: easier said than done. That would require conductors or sensors on each door detecting how many passengers are entering the train and exiting.

Moreover, turn-up-an-go ticketing is not really compatible with a yield management in each we can save dozens of euros buying in advance.

By A.L. | December 14, 2012 7:26 PM

Close the doors? Oh yes, at Rotterdam on Thursday the doors of the Fyra to Antwerpen closed in my face. My wife in the train, I was left on the platform. No conductor on the platform or looking out of a train door to whom I could signal. Door would not reopen. Funny if not annoying and could be dangerous - I was just step[ping in. Two hours until the next Fyra, so I take the Thalys and have to pay the full price - €65. Coming back from Antwerpen on Friday 50 minutes delay. Acres of empty seats - not surprising. The triumph of Fyra!

By r.dixon | December 15, 2012 12:22 PM

oh; so no safety concerns on regular trains? its pure capitalism; they are trying to milk the big fat cow...but what comes out now is blood.

By Padmakumar Rao | December 16, 2012 12:29 AM

We're off to London in January and are going by train. We booked the Eurostar but couldn't book Amsterdam-Brussels and back earlier because of the change to the Fyra. So we asked the NS bookings lady what happens on the return journey if the Eurostar is late and we miss our connection. Guess what she said? 'That would be a real problem.'

By Shirley | December 17, 2012 4:42 PM

@A.L. Not true at all - the airlines do it all the time. Reservation systems can easily handle this sort of booking. Turn-up-and-go passengers pay the highest rate & yield management systems can easily cater for that,

By James | December 17, 2012 5:09 PM

Shirley - better to run that risk than travel to London on the coach with Eurolines. That really is like dying and going to hell.

By Darren | December 18, 2012 9:50 AM

We cannot expect the same ministers/executives who created this mess to clean it up. It is long past the time to purge those in charge. To: Padmakumar Rao - we are well beyond capitalism here...

By Chek-IN/Chek-OUT | December 18, 2012 8:47 PM

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