Saturday 10 December 2022

NS cuts train services for lack of staff, timetable ‘under pressure’ this summer

Photo: Depositphotos

Dutch railway operator NS is scrapping train services on six routes in the coming week because of lack of staff, ahead of a summer of disruptions.

The affected routes are between Arnhem and Schiphol,  Amsterdam and Enkhuizen, Rotterdam and Gouda Goverwelle, Dordrecht and Lelystad, Amsterdam and Enkhuizen and Den Haag Goverwelle. These will all be down to a twice-hourly service. From July 11, the train operator will scrap trains on another two routes.

Last week the NS cut train services on four routes, including the high-speed rail link between Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

The NS is currently struggling to fill 1,100 vacancies, from train drivers and ticket collectors to engineers, IT staff and safety personnel. Training takes time, the NS said, and it is not always possible to move drivers to unfamiliar routes.

The train timetable as it stands will come ‘under severe pressure’ this summer, the NS has warned. Infrastructure junior minister Vivianne Heijnen has already briefed MPs about the situation, saying disruptions will be likely to last until September.

‘There are staff shortages across the board and, of course, we don’t want to cut back on services but we have picked the routes where fewer services are the least painful and where the problems are the most acute,’ an NS spokesperson told broadcaster NOS.

Other train operators are also facing staff problems. Arriva, which services four regions, has already had to cut back services in the Achterhoek in Gelderland.

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