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Old January 25th, 2011, 11:02 AM   #221
woutero
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News about the High Speed Trains:

Breda in April
High speed service will be extended to the city of Breda as of Apri 4th 2011. It will take 25 minutes between Rotterdam and Breda. Breda will now be directly connected with Schiphol Airport. Travel time between Breda and Amsterdam Centraal will be cut by 34 minutes, and will be 1:09h. This will all be done with the temporary trains that run 160 km/h.

Full speed in december 2011
In december 2011 the high speed trains will finally become operational, so that the speed on the line can be upgraded to 250km/h. NS Hispeed announced that the trains will be delivered by AnsaldoBreda this summer, and will be integrated in the 2012 service.

Lower rates
The number of travellers on the high speed trains between Rotterdam and Amsterdam have been low. But due to problems with other trains, NS have gotten rid of the supplement ticket in january 2011. It may come as no surprise that now the trains have filled up. From february 2011 on, NS Hispeed has lowered the rates for Fyra trains. For instance, the supplement between Schiphol and Rotterdam was €6 each way, and will be lowered to €2.

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Old March 15th, 2011, 06:00 PM   #222
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Public transport smart card in use nationwide

It affects not only rail, but I think the news are important anyway:

The public transport smart card can be used in buses, trains, trams and the metro nationwide from Wednesday, news agency ANP reports.
Groningen and Drenthe provinces are the last regions to be connected to the ov-chipkaart system. That should have happened in December but there were problems with the supply of the card readers, ANP said.

Paper tickets will now be gradually phased out over much of the country. They have already been scrapped in the Rotterdam and Amsterdam metropolitan regions.


One expected effect is that Arriva trains in Friesland and Groningen will now accept OV Chipkaart as mean of payment. This is a very bold move and I hope to see all paper ticket machines gone in 2013 at the latest! Then, anyone travelling in Netherlands will need a smart card and the gate isolation of fare-paying areas of many big train stations will go on.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #223
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Some coaches of an AnsaldoBreda train waiting in the factory on the 7th March 2011.



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Old April 1st, 2011, 07:00 PM   #224
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Ticket price cuts boost Fyra high-speed train service

Use of the high-speed train Fyra between Amsterdam and Rotterdam has more than doubled since the supplementary fee was slashed, according to NS figures.
In the last quarter of 2010, 215,000 people used the train, but that rose to 550,000 in the first three months of 2010.

In January, the supplement was scrapped altogether and in February and March it was cut from €6 to €2.10.

In February, transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen warned the company charged with operating high speed trains in the Netherlands is in financial trouble and action needs to be taken to avoid bankruptcy.

The company, High Speed Alliance, is 90% owned by the Dutch national railways NS and 10% by Air France-KLM. They won sole operating rights 10 years ago, well before the track was completed.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 03:30 AM   #225
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Today, the 2th of april 2011, the service on the HSL-Zuid is extended from Rotterdam to Breda.

From now one, the next services use the HSL-Zuid
10x daily: Thalys Amsterdam Centraal - Schiphol Amsterdam Airport - Rotterdam Centraal - Antwerp Centraal - Brussels Midi - Paris Nord
32x daily: Fyra Amsterdam Centraal - Schiphol Amsterdam Airport - Rotterdam Centraal - Breda

More official information here (officially services start 4th of april, but you can travel on the 2th and 3th as well).

Last edited by Busfotodotnl; April 2nd, 2011 at 03:47 AM.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 01:38 AM   #226
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NS wants to introduce evening peak fares

NS is reported to be considering a new fare scheme that would introduce an evening peak fare. As it stands now, subscribers of NS travel cards (€ 55/year) can travel with 40% discounted fares outside the morning peak, which lasts until 9:00 weekdays. Now, NS is considering to introduce an evening peak also (17:00-19:00) because trains are increasingly crowded at that time.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 03:05 AM   #227
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To add to that: current subscribers will be able to keep using their cards as nothing will change for them (until the subscription expires I think, it might be possible NS would not allow a renewal).

Apart from that, NS will be introducing several new passes which will replace the Off-peak Hours Pass (Voordeelurenabonnement, VDU):
  • Dal Voordeel
    This pass pretty much resembles the current Voordeelurenabonnement: it gives a 40% discount during off-peak hours, and will cost € 50 per year.
    It should be noted that this subscription does not give full day discount in july and august, unlike the current VDU.
  • Weekend Vrij
    This pass is the same as above, but allows for unlimited travel at no extra cost during weekends. Will cost € 40 per month (2nd class).
  • Dal Vrij
    This pass extends the unlimited travel of Weekend Vrij to all off-peak hours and will be available for purchase for the price of € 95 per month (2nd class).
  • Altijd Voordeel
    This pass gives a 20% discount during peak hours and 40% during off-peak and weekends. € 20 per month.
  • Altijd Vrij
    This pass allows for unlimited travel during peak and off-peak hours and weekends, will cost € 295 per month (2nd class).
Peak-hours: on business days (i.e. mon - fri) this means the time period between 6:30 AM and 9:00 AM (morning peak), and 16:00 - 18:30 (evening rush hour)
Off-peak hours: 9:00 AM - 16:00, and after 18:30. Saturday and Sunday are off-peak for the entire day.

Please note that these products are valid only on trains operated by NS, and not on services operated by Veolia, Arriva, Syntus and Connexxion. The subscriptions can be purchased per month. The current VDU will be available until August 1st. After August 1st, only the new subscriptions as outlined above will be available for purchase. They will be issued on a OV-chipkaart, which will be the only way of using them.

For more information, please visit NS.nl (only in Dutch).
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Old April 9th, 2011, 04:48 AM   #228
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
Apart from that, NS will be introducing several new passes which will replace the Off-peak Hours Pass (Voordeelurenabonnement, VDU):

[*]Dal Vrij
This pass extends the unlimited travel of Weekend Vrij to all off-peak hours and will be available for purchase for the price of € 95 per month (2nd class).
I was invited as a tester of this plan, but I didn't want to pay € 95 to ride trains when I didn't need it. I'm afraid, though, that this clearly subsidized plan will benefit those who need it less: mobile workers travelling on companies' expenses. It is a bargain for those travelling often during the workday (think of sales representatives). It reflects the low occupation of seats during these times, hovering likely around 15%-25% at most off-peak.

What I question is: shouldn't NS reduce frequency of services instead of selling those seats in subscription plans cheap? Do we really need 2 Maastricht-Amsterdam/Schiphol Intercity services per hour off-peak instead of one every 45 or 50 minutes? Couldn't NS rest some trains and their crews off-peak?

Quote:
[*]Altijd Voordeel
This pass gives a 20% discount during peak hours and 40% during off-peak and weekends. € 20 per month.
I think this will be hugely popular with commuters. The € 120/year fee easily pays off with peak time discounts.

Quote:
[*]Altijd Vrij
This pass allows for unlimited travel during peak and off-peak hours and weekends, will cost € 295 per month (2nd class).
This is actually the equivalent of the Jaarabonementen for unlimited distances (whole network) of NS trains, prices are close too.

Quote:
Please note that these products are valid only on trains operated by NS, and not on services operated by Veolia, Arriva, Syntus and Connexxion. The subscriptions can be purchased per month.
I guess ICE Frankfurt/Basel, Fyra, Thalys and IC Berlin are also excluded from these subscription trains as they are operated by NS Hispeed, DB and Thalys.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 05:39 AM   #229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I was invited as a tester of this plan, but I didn't want to pay € 95 to ride trains when I didn't need it. I'm afraid, though, that this clearly subsidized plan will benefit those who need it less: mobile workers travelling on companies' expenses. It is a bargain for those travelling often during the workday (think of sales representatives). It reflects the low occupation of seats during these times, hovering likely around 15%-25% at most off-peak.

What I question is: shouldn't NS reduce frequency of services instead of selling those seats in subscription plans cheap? Do we really need 2 Maastricht-Amsterdam/Schiphol Intercity services per hour off-peak instead of one every 45 or 50 minutes? Couldn't NS rest some trains and their crews off-peak?
I think reducing frequencies will be counter-effective. NS aims at achieving growth during off-peak hours (and relieving rush hour a bit as those trains are almost full), but to do this the off-peak services need to be attractive.

I agree that NS could perhaps use their trains and people a bit more efficient, take the 800 series for example. This train runs from Alkmaar to Sittard, and then splits into two trains of which one goes to Maastricht and the other one to Heerlen, and vice versa.

While this makes perfect sense during rush hour (it is more attractive to passengers to Utrecht and beyond to not have to change trains) it results in at least two trainsets (but sometimes even 3) running the entire length to Alkmaar and back, which could be overkill. A long while ago, I saw 12 double decker carriages passing by 's-Hertogenbosch station.

I think it could be done with half the capacity, but it would also mean people would have to change trains. Even if it's a guaranteed cross-platform change, people experience it as a delay and an uncertainty in their trip.

NS aims to offer a "gecadanseerd" schedule. This means that the timetable is the same every hour, as this makes it easier for passengers to remember when their train leaves, and from which platform.

Therefor I think reducing frequencies is a bad idea, and changing series is a bad idea as well.
Quote:
I think this will be hugely popular with commuters. The € 120/year fee easily pays off with peak time discounts.
You mean: € 240,- a year. ;-)
Quote:
This is actually the equivalent of the Jaarabonementen for unlimited distances (whole network) of NS trains, prices are close too.
Yes it is, the difference being that the current Jaarabonnement allows all trains, also those of Veolia. This one doesn't, it's only NS.
Quote:
I guess ICE Frankfurt/Basel, Fyra, Thalys and IC Berlin are also excluded from these subscription trains as they are operated by NS Hispeed, DB and Thalys.
Thalys is excluded as it's a reservation only service (Thalys is always excluded from promotions and even the current Jaarabonnement), yet all the other services will be included.

IC Brussel runs as an additional intercity in the Netherlands and can be used for domestic travel without any reservation or supplement. IC Berlin is fully integrated into the timetable and even replaces a normal train service. Those IC services will be included in these subscription plans.

Fyra is a domestic intercity service and will be included, but a supplement will be required. In the future, this can be put on a OV-chipkaart as well.

I am not sure about ICE, but from what I've read on Twitter it will be included (just like it is nowadays) and a supplement will not be required.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 10:35 AM   #230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
What I question is: shouldn't NS reduce frequency of services instead of selling those seats in subscription plans cheap? Do we really need 2 Maastricht-Amsterdam/Schiphol Intercity services per hour off-peak instead of one every 45 or 50 minutes? Couldn't NS rest some trains and their crews off-peak?
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
NS aims to offer a "gecadanseerd" schedule. This means that the timetable is the same every hour, as this makes it easier for passengers to remember when their train leaves, and from which platform.
Sometimes the only reduction obtained when rail services are cut is in comfort for passengers: halving the number of trains on a given line doesn't halves the costs of keeping the railway running. Shortening the trains (like from 3 to 2 EMU in multiple) may be a better idea, especially if this allow maintenance work during the day (instead of night).

Cadenced timetables (symmetric, with trains every (sub)multiple of 60 minutes) are not only a way to help passengers, but also a system to save money. A simple exmple is a single track line with a train roughly every hour, where trains cross themselves always on different stations. With a symmetric tibetable they cross always on the same stations, so crossing points may be reduced (even if sometimes this may not be a good idea). On a bigger scale, this allow a lot of traffic with fewer tracks, compared with the same traffic without coordination.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 12:18 PM   #231
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Something NS should do is get away with trains that are coupled/decoupled. I don't understand the point of having them, particularly on Leeuwarden/Groningen-Den Haag/Rotterdam route that couple/uncouple on both ends.

They should have fixed routes, for instance: Den Haag-Groningen, and Rotterdam-Leeuwarden, without any coupling/de-coupling.

They should also have fixed trains on Maastricht/Heerlen-Alkmaar/Schiphol routes: fix the routes to Heerlen-Alkmaar and Maastricht-Schiphol only, without the fuss about attaching cars in Sittard.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 03:12 PM   #232
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I don't see much possibilities for that either, once the High Frequent Rail Transport programme is a regular thing, there will be 6 intercity trains per hour per direction between Amsterdam and Eindhoven (ETMET), on top of that there will be Sprinter services (Breda - Utrecht, Tilburg University - Eindhoven and Deurne - Nijmegen) and cargo.

Not coupling those trains will require additional train paths and I am not sure if that capacity is even available with ETMET.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #233
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Quote:
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Not coupling those trains will require additional train paths and I am not sure if that capacity is even available with ETMET.
What I was thinking was something like this: when a Rotterdam Leeuwarden train is running, an Intercity departs from Den Haag and ends in Gouda, where people northbound connect to the train from Rotterdam. Then, at Meppel, another Intercity departs to Groningen after the Rotterdam train arrives, providing connections.

Same could happen in the south: when a train is coming from Alkmaar, instead of being de-coupled in Sittard it could follow straight to Heerlen, and a short Intercity Sittard-Maastricht would depart 4 min later.

Anyway, with the completion of the Hanzelijn, I guess travelling by Fyra from Rotterdam to Schiphol then travelling on a Schiphol-Zwolle service via Lelysta will be faster than taking Gouda-Amersfoort trains,.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #234
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What you are proposing is definitely an option, but it won't be effective: study has shown that for each change of train, passengers experience it as a 15 minute delay. Each change also make the train a less attractive option.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #235
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What you are proposing is definitely an option, but it won't be effective: study has shown that for each change of train, passengers experience it as a 15 minute delay. Each change also make the train a less attractive option.
5 minutes are enough for a connection in a relatively small station with 6 or 8 platforms. Today, de-coupling trains in Sittard take at least 8 minutes (if you check the aankmost/vertrek data on the Internet).

Some passengers would rather ride a 3 hour stoptrein without connections than a 2h Intercity journey with 4 connections. I even read somewhere people complaining when the network was reorganized in 2006 because direct strop trains from further north to Amsterdam were cut in 2 or 3 and people were now "forced" to connect even if the change saved them 20 min of travel time or more.

I bet some people will complain loudly of the restructuring of services on Schiphol-Den Haag-Rotterdam route when Fyra comes full service in December and direct Intercity are cut in Leiden or Den Haag Centraal.
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Old April 9th, 2011, 07:50 PM   #236
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I can understand it too: a direct train provides certainty, you can just remain seated. Not having to worry about "Where is my connecting train?", "Oh crap, this train is 10 minutes delayed and now I will miss the connecting service" et cetera.

Quote:
I bet some people will complain loudly of the restructuring of services on Schiphol-Den Haag-Rotterdam route when Fyra comes full service in December and direct Intercity are cut in Leiden or Den Haag Centraal.
These cuts are unneccessary and I believe are intended to push those passengers into the more expensive Fyra trains. The alternative (direct service) will be diverted through Haarlem and will be slowed significantly as more stations along that route are 'upgraded' to an intercity station.

So I can understand any potential uproar about those.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 12:43 AM   #237
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Today the first trains run in one direction through the new Hanzelijn-bridge near Zwolle. For now, only the trains Amersfoort-Zwolle run through this bridge. After 12-12-2012, the new link Lelystad-Zwolle will run there as well.

A cabride of the first train this morning:
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 08:18 PM   #238
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End of paper tickets in NL

NS has announced that OV chipkaart (RFID smartcards) will be the only possible mean of payment of train fares in Netherlands from late 2012. This is 6 months after the initially planned phase-out of paper tickets on inter-city trains.

Local public transportation systems are also implementing the same card. In many regions, they are the only possible mean of using transit, save for an expensive single-trip disposable RFID card one can buy from conductors in certain trams and buses. A flat fee + distance-based fare is now applicable on transit, instead of the outdated and overdone zonal system in use before, based on mechanical stamps of cards market with strips.

Only exceptions to the card requirement will be passengers using international train tickets that entitles travel with NS trains for part of the journey and those using rail passes.
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 12:31 PM   #239
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Quote:
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NS has announced that OV chipkaart (RFID smartcards) will be the only possible mean of payment of train fares in Netherlands from late 2012. This is 6 months after the initially planned phase-out of paper tickets on inter-city trains.

Local public transportation systems are also implementing the same card. In many regions, they are the only possible mean of using transit, save for an expensive single-trip disposable RFID card one can buy from conductors in certain trams and buses. A flat fee + distance-based fare is now applicable on transit, instead of the outdated and overdone zonal system in use before, based on mechanical stamps of cards market with strips.

Only exceptions to the card requirement will be passengers using international train tickets that entitles travel with NS trains for part of the journey and those using rail passes.
As usual anything that makes transit less attractive is heralded as progress by suburbanist...
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Old June 3rd, 2011, 12:49 PM   #240
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As usual anything that makes transit less attractive is heralded as progress by suburbanist...
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