Rail users and MPs are demanding an explanation following Monday’s railway chaos after a signals failure at Utrecht, the busiest passenger hub in the country.
Passengers’ association Rover called on the supervisory board of rail operator ProRail to intervene following the second major disruption to services in a few weeks. Rover says it is unacceptable that a technical breakdown can have such a major impact on services.
‘This is not an odd incident. It is a structural problem,’ chairman Arriën Kruyt told news agency ANP. ‘It is time to intervene in ProRail’s IT department and stop mucking around.’
MPs have also called on junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld to take action and find out why so much is going wrong. It is ‘incomprehensible’ that the entire rail network can be hit by a signal and points failure in Utrecht, said Labour MP Duco Hoogland.
‘There has been a breakdown almost every day,’ VVD parliamentarian Betty de Boer told ANP. ‘It is difficult to continue describing them as incidents.’
Last week the NS was also under fire for cutting services in preparation for wintry weather, even though the conditions were not expected to be extreme.
Last year, a senior government advisor recommended merging the state-owned railway companies NS (passengers) and ProRail (track operator) to end persistent problems with rail services.
Mansveld said in a reaction she had called on the chief executives of both companies to brief her on the reasons for the breakdowns and a structural solution as soon as possible.
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