Germany is the bottleneck in the European fast train network

Dutch MPs and public rail company NS believe that rail links between the Netherlands and Germany should be improved in order to allow trains to better compete with the plane on shorter European journeys.

In April, NS chief Roger van Boxtel argued that the train is a realistic alternative to flying on shorter European routes and the Amsterdam-Berlin service is high on his list.

Taking the train to Berlin could be a viable option to flying over the 750 kilometres that separate the two capitals if passengers are allowed to join the train on stations in between. This is possible on trains from Amsterdam to Paris and London.

But it is difficult to board the international express train between Amsterdam and Berlin from Düsseldorf, Aachen, Cologne or Hamburg, the NRC said on Thursday.

Talks are also underway at a ministerial level about new fast trains between Groningen and Hamburg, and Eindhoven and Düsseldorf.

But despite years of lobbying by the infrastructure ministry and provincial authorities in Groningen, Noord-Brabant and Limburg, there are still no cross-border intercity trains in these areas, the paper said.

The German rail company DB has some 2,500 rail projects on its books and the Dutch rail links are thus only a few of many, the NRC pointed out.


In April, Eurostar launched a direct London to Amsterdam train service but passengers heading for the UK still have to change trains and go through security checks in Brussels south.

No extra checks are required on the journey from London, cutting journey times to three hours and 41 minutes and providing a viable alternative to air travel.

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