Senior advisor recommends merging NS and ProRail

A senior advisor has recommended merging the state-owned railway companies NS (passengers) and ProRail (track operator) to end persistent problems with rail services, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

Jaap Bierman was asked by NS and ProRail for his recommendations as part of a formal report on the future of the railways but his conclusions were not included in the final document, the paper says.

Bierman, a former McKinsey consultant and Shell manager, has since outlined his position in a separate document. In it he states the current way the Dutch railway system is organised ‘hinders effective management’ and the divide between the two companies is counterproductive.

The two rail firms have admitted they are aware of the Bierman memo but say it contains his ‘personal thoughts’. This, the Volkskrant says, is notable because the two firms brought in Bierman for a fresh look as an outsider and to draft a future proof blueprint for the railways.


Bierman’s memo, which focuses on the interest of passengers, has already been discussed within the transport ministry, the paper says.

Sources told the Volkskrant that senior ProRail executives stopped Bierman’s conclusions being incorporated in the report, which will be sent to parliament later this year.

The Volkskrant points out that ProRail executives and supervisory board members stand to lose out if the two companies are merged again.

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