Tuesday 17 September 2019

Zandvoort’s Formula 1 plans mean too much traffic for the railway

Image of NS double decker Dutch train sitting in station

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Ambitious plans to transport tens of thousands of motor racing fans to Zandvoort by train for a Dutch Grand Prix are doomed to failure because the infrastructure is not up to the job, the AD said on Monday.

The Zandvoort racing circuit will hear this week if Formula 1 racing is to return to the Netherlands next May.

The circuit and town council’s plans include ferrying racegoers to the track by train and bus, to prevent roads to the seaside resort clogging up.

NS normally brings 5,000 people a day to Zandvoort, but that will go up to 50,000 over the Formula 1 weekend. This would involve running 12 trains an hour over the track, each with 10 to 12 coaches.

But the current energy supply to the track is not enough to deal with so many heavy trains and infrastructure company ProRail is now looking at what can be done, the AD said.

The track to the resort is ‘completely unsuitable for 12 trains an hour too and from Zandvoort,’ ProRail said, adding that six trains an hour is the maximum capacity.

In addition, Zandvoort railway track only has two platforms and there is not enough room to expand to three. This means there is not enough space to load and unload 12 busy trains an hour.

Furthermore, the level crossing at Overveen would be permanently closed because 24 trains an hour would pass through the town, ProRail said.

The railway’s passenger service arm NS says the investment will be useful in the future, because more beachgoers will also be able to travel to the seaside by train. ‘The Formula 1 is a great reason to do this,’ a spokesman told the AD.

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