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Old September 24th, 2015, 08:11 PM   #2921
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Originally Posted by MoshiAmsterdam View Post
So not only should speed increase to 200 kph, but 4 tracks as well. Sounds nice, but not realistic financially. 4 Tracks make sense if there is a capacity problem, with a possible added benefit of faster trains. Just saving a few minutes on itself isn't worth billions.
The track geometry of most Dutch railway fully allows traffic at 200-220 km/h, certainly so where trains currently already travel fast passing through stations. The issue is the arcane ATB system. Grade is obviously not a problem, and the alignments are not bad at all except for a couple instances.

As for 4-tracking Houten-Best, I think there is demand for travel between Eindhoven-'s-Hertogenbosch-Utrecht that would make full use of 4 tracks. Arnhem-Nijmegen also needs 4 tracks.

Tilburg - Breda also need 4 tracks (more exactly, between the junctions leading to Roosendaal and 's-Hertogenbosch.

Moreover, several plans to build additional stations in major trunk railways are held back because of capacity issues.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 08:52 PM   #2922
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There is an endless list of places which could do with 4 tracking before houten and best, Amsterdam towards Almere, and Den Haag spring to mind, the point is cost. It is far more cost effective to squeeze more capacity out of existing infra structure than 4 Tracking every bottle neck (obviously 4 tracking is a much better but costly solution). While the capital cost of increasing line speeds for such short sprints is pointess.

I don't understand where you get your obsession of pulling out all the stops to have one fantastic piece of infrastructure at the expense of the remaing network.

Try reading this article It is so true, I once tried to get to Paris without using an overpriced Thalys and it was indeed impossible.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 09:37 PM   #2923
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
The track geometry of most Dutch railway fully allows traffic at 200-220 km/h, certainly so where trains currently already travel fast passing through stations. The issue is the arcane ATB system. Grade is obviously not a problem, and the alignments are not bad at all except for a couple instances.

As for 4-tracking Houten-Best, I think there is demand for travel between Eindhoven-'s-Hertogenbosch-Utrecht that would make full use of 4 tracks. Arnhem-Nijmegen also needs 4 tracks.

Tilburg - Breda also need 4 tracks (more exactly, between the junctions leading to Roosendaal and 's-Hertogenbosch.

Moreover, several plans to build additional stations in major trunk railways are held back because of capacity issues.
Dutch railways are far from ideal for 200-200 kph: there are too many stops even for the InterCity's to maintain that speed for a reasonable time (stops that you want to keep) and a huge number of rail crossings (that you want to keep as well). Upgrading the speed to 160 kph is already planned for routes without crossings.

What makes you think there is demand for full use of 4 tracks on Utrecht - Eindhoven? Parts currently only have 6 trains each way each hour. Would a higher frequency save ppl more than a few minutes? No. Are trains running at maximum capacity? No. Demand is analysed in the LMCA (https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/binarie...07-naar-tk.pdf, Dutch), and no scenario requires 4 tracks on the whole route.

Tilburg - Breda is a great example why 200 kph doesn't make much sense. The distance between them is only 20 kilometer, you're not even gonna reach that speed. Upgrading the speed to anything above 140 kph requires ditching railway crossings @ ~ 30 million each to gain 1 minute (literally).

If you want to double rail other routes are far more urgent; Delft - Schiedam and Weesp - Almere currently have 10 trains each way each hour with plans to increase frequency on both. And there are quite some routes with single track and 4 trains each way each hour which makes them unreliable: Woerden - Leiden, Zevenaar - Doetinchem and Groningen - Leeuwarden i.e. If you're gonna invest in infrastructure then choose those sections instead of others to save 1 minute.
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Old September 25th, 2015, 09:14 AM   #2924
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Originally Posted by suasion View Post
I once tried to get to Paris without using an overpriced Thalys and it was indeed impossible.
Despite the regrettable closure of the border point of Erquelinnes-Jeumont,
it is still very possible to travel by train to Paris without using Thalys.

From Amsterdam to Paris, bahn.de shows 4 possible connections, the shortest
one taking 6 hours. Routing is Amsterdam-Antwerpen-Lille-Amiens-Paris. The
Amsterdam-Antwerpen-Lille leg is hourly, but unfortunately not so in France,
where the advantages of the "takt" schedules have not yet been understood.
Also, all trains used for this connection are far more confortable than a
crowded plane-like Thalys trainset, and guarantee that every "window seat"
is located in front of a real window, and not a pane of sheet metal.
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Old September 25th, 2015, 10:29 AM   #2925
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Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Despite the regrettable closure of the border point of Erquelinnes-Jeumont,
it is still very possible to travel by train to Paris without using Thalys.

From Amsterdam to Paris, bahn.de shows 4 possible connections, the shortest
one taking 6 hours. Routing is Amsterdam-Antwerpen-Lille-Amiens-Paris. The
Amsterdam-Antwerpen-Lille leg is hourly, but unfortunately not so in France,
where the advantages of the "takt" schedules have not yet been understood.
Also, all trains used for this connection are far more confortable than a
crowded plane-like Thalys trainset, and guarantee that every "window seat"
is located in front of a real window, and not a pane of sheet metal.
I do not find anything below 8 hours on www.bahn.de. Where are you seeing 6 hours?

Interestingly when I look up the TCV price for Amsterdam - Paris here:
http://jizdenka.idos.cz
... it still defaults to using the Jeumont border crossing.
However I can choose to go via Blandain and then I get the correct routing, and a price of 94,6 EUR
The "walk up" fare for Thalys on this route is 132,- I think that paying 40% more to do the trip in less than half the time is quite reasonable, and it would explain why Thalys is actually rather popular...
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Old September 25th, 2015, 11:53 AM   #2926
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I do not find anything below 8 hours on www.bahn.de. Where are you seeing 6 hours?
Checked again, you are right, my excuses. 8 hours, not 6.
Note that for that trip, the border crossing is not Blandain but Mouscron-Tourcoing. Blandain is on the line Tournai-Lille. But I think
that regarding fares, the two border points are assimilated. I had a train guard summer job when I was student and worked sometimes
in that part of the network...
Also if we want to compare everything, you must note that the Thalys ticket is "semi flex" only, while the TCV ticket gives you total
flexibility, including refund.

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Old September 25th, 2015, 10:41 PM   #2927
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Thanks MarcVD for the info, it was a few years ago when I tried.

But 8 seems to be pointless given that I can be in Brussels in lessthan 3. Hardly what I would call a service. And reinforces the point of throwing all the funding on Grandiose projects at the expense of moving the masses.

I also agree with your assesment of the Thalys, it is a cramped claustrophobic set up. Much prefer the ICE trains.
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Old September 26th, 2015, 09:58 AM   #2928
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But 8 seems to be pointless given that I can be in Brussels in lessthan 3. Hardly what I would call a service. And reinforces the point of throwing all the funding on Grandiose projects at the expense of moving the masses.
Thalys is moving significantly more people than the old Eurocities between Paris and Brussel did. As such it is not a "grandiose project at the expense of moving the masses". It is moving the masses...
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Old September 26th, 2015, 02:04 PM   #2929
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I beg to differ, at your quoted walk up fare of €132 plus no possibility of a discount from rail passes for a casual thalys user, it is not trying to attract custom.

Added to that Thalys has a useless reservation system so you are stuck to a particular train. Additionally Thalys trains are full when all the seats are reserved unlike other trains.

what about passengers not wanting to go all the way to Paris or Brussels, they must backtrack losing the speed advantage and paying extra for the privilage.

I contend that if a regular train was allowed to go between paris and brussels in addition to the Thalys far more people would travel by train between the citys.

Thalys is a great connection but it operates as a monopoly along this route, which serves to maximise profit not passenger numbers.
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Old September 26th, 2015, 06:07 PM   #2930
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I beg to differ, at your quoted walk up fare of €132 plus no possibility of a discount from rail passes for a casual thalys user, it is not trying to attract custom.

Added to that Thalys has a useless reservation system so you are stuck to a particular train. Additionally Thalys trains are full when all the seats are reserved unlike other trains.

what about passengers not wanting to go all the way to Paris or Brussels, they must backtrack losing the speed advantage and paying extra for the privilage.

I contend that if a regular train was allowed to go between paris and brussels in addition to the Thalys far more people would travel by train between the citys.

Thalys is a great connection but it operates as a monopoly along this route, which serves to maximise profit not passenger numbers.
you argument makes no sense, people don't often take 6h-long trips without some advanced planning. Comparing maximum last-minute walk-up fares for international travel is not appropriate.

Backtracking is perfectly acceptable if it reduces total travel time, air travel relies on that often!
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Old September 26th, 2015, 11:41 PM   #2931
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First, its only such a long journey because of the timetabling.
Second,who hasn't said "feck it, lets go to Paris (insert short timesacle here)" or anywhere else for that matter.

I alluded to Brussels-Paris (sorry wrong forum) which is one hour by hispeed train yet 5 hours by normal train. But try booking a train in advance with thalys and see the price.
*For 3 weeks from now I can get a train specific price of €93 to Paris from amsterdam, but a walk up ticket for me to Brussels costs €27.80 for any train except Thalys at any time. The cheapest fare to Brussels using Thalys tomorrow is €80.00 and it is train specific.
(I have NS discount + railplus as do most people who use trains in the netherlands)
*It is many years since I bought a plane ticket so far in advance

*And yes, I have often taken longer journeys with no planning, but Thalys prices require very long term planning on weird days to avoid premium fare. The last time I used Thalys from Brussels to Amsterdam it was a walk up fare, there was no second class left on the next train nor the one after so I bought a first class ticket because my company was paying for it.
When travelling for personal reasons I use the regular train and I am very glad that Fyra was scrapped so I still have this option.

I am not against Thalys charging what they like for their superior connection time, I am against them (and other hi speed services) having a monopoly on routes and forcing passangers to a) pay extra for speed they don't need or b) take a stupid route to avoid the surcharge.
The Fyra debacle means that the normal train can run between amsterdam brussels in parallell to the Thalys. This offers choice and gives far more people mobility than was the plan. I would also point out the cross border trains are quite busy when I have been on them so there is room for both.

Quote:
Backtracking is perfectly acceptable if it reduces total travel time, air travel relies on that often!
Air travellers use back tracking to save money not time, and here's my exclaimation mark! Flying JFK-FRA-AMS is never going to be quicker than JFK_AMS. Direct flights are usually more expensive, depending on demand.
I doubt for people going from Brussels to the North of Paris, Compiegne or going to CDG airport that backtracking saves much time; And I doubt they use the train as a result.

Anyway we are off in a tangent here discussing international journeys in the Netherlands Forum.My original point was about wasting money on Grandiose flagship schemes instead of improving the whole network. Railways for the most part function as part of a public transport network. The idea is to move as many people as possible as chea[ply as possible. The quality, accessability and reliability of public transport has a huge bearing on the a country's, city's or region's economy, it is something that is factored in when determining growth and investment.
Therefore squandering huge amounts of money to make a couple of sections faster to benefit a small portion of travellers is wrong if it comes at the expense of producing small incremental improvements that positively impact on the quality of journeys for the majority of travellerss.


Lastly, Suburbanist you don't seem to understand yield management. Thalys have a number of cheap seats for each train, this number is dependant on the train timing and expected demand. if everybody decides to book their train 3 weeks in advance only the first few get discounted tickets, the rest will pay more no matter how early they try to book. In fact if everybody was trying to book tickets so early for a train, the alogrithims they use would sense the high demand and push prices even higher.
ie. everybody can not buy cheap tickets in advance even if we all wanted to try.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 01:33 AM   #2932
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My original point was about wasting money on Grandiose flagship schemes instead of improving the whole network. Railways for the most part function as part of a public transport network. The idea is to move as many people as possible as chea[ply as possible. The quality, accessability and reliability of public transport has a huge bearing on the a country's, city's or region's economy, it is something that is factored in when determining growth and investment.
Therefore squandering huge amounts of money to make a couple of sections faster to benefit a small portion of travellers is wrong if it comes at the expense of producing small incremental improvements that positively impact on the quality of journeys for the majority of travellerss.
If you extend that logic to its limit, few if any investments would be made on long-distance travel, of any kind, since counting the % of trips, commute and intra-city trips will always overwhelmingly dominate the count (the number of people travelling from Rotterdam to any point >100km far is tiny compared to the number of people moving within Rotterdam metro every day for work, study etc).

You can't account only for number of people benefited directly as users, as there are economic benefits from having a fast transportation network, something that I guess the Dutch ppl realizes since they've been making their fortunes from commerce for several centuries and counting.

The HSL-Zuid is unfairly maligned because of V-250, when the infrastructure itself is fine, and solved 2 bottlenecks. It also put Rotterdam within more feasible commuting distance of Amsterdam, which is awesome. Maybe not for a daily commuter, but surely for a 3-4x/week commuter.

Quote:
Lastly, Suburbanist you don't seem to understand yield management. Thalys have a number of cheap seats for each train, this number is dependant on the train timing and expected demand. if everybody decides to book their train 3 weeks in advance only the first few get discounted tickets, the rest will pay more no matter how early they try to book. In fact if everybody was trying to book tickets so early for a train, the alogrithims they use would sense the high demand and push prices even higher.
ie. everybody can not buy cheap tickets in advance even if we all wanted to try.
Of course I understand Yield Management! There are also other microeconomic phenomena affecting the whole thing, such as imperfect substitution, sunk costs etc
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Old September 27th, 2015, 02:00 AM   #2933
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have you any idea of the number of people who commute from Rotterdam each day to Amsterdam? Do you have any idea how many of them sit in traffic on the A4 daily or wedge themselves into regular trains to avoid paying the €2.30 supplement. The idea of building the new line was good, but the execution was rubbish.
There are only two (empty) trains per hour and some extra during peak. I'm not sure if anyone uses the Thalys between these stops, but not likely to be many.
There are 4 direct intercity trains every hour all day plus the international train and two with a change in Den Haag. During peak hours these trains become unboardable as they approach Amsterdam.
Do you think it was such a good idea to spend so much money to build a track that only a minority use? It would make sense to run more trains on it without the supplement, but it was built with profit not passenger in mind.

Again I'm not against the line being built but as it stands instead of being a valuable piece of infrastructure it repesents a poor investment.

Quote:
Of course I understand Yield Management! There are also other microeconomic phenomena affecting the whole thing, such as imperfect substitution, sunk costs etc
Of course I speak English as a first language but
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Old September 27th, 2015, 02:18 AM   #2934
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have you any idea of the number of people who commute from Rotterdam each day to Amsterdam? Do you have any idea how many of them sit in traffic on the A4 daily or wedge themselves into regular trains to avoid paying the €2.30 supplement. The idea of building the new line was good, but the execution was rubbish.
There are only two (empty) trains per hour and some extra during peak. I'm not sure if anyone uses the Thalys between these stops, but not likely to be many.
There are 6 intercity trains every hour all day plus the international train. During peak hours these trains become unboardable as they approach Amsterdam.
Do you think it was such a good idea to spend so much money to build a track that only a minority use? It would make sense to run more trains on it without the supplement, but it was built with profit not passenger in mind.

Again I'm not against the line being built but as it stands instead of being a valuable piece of infrastructure it repesents a poor investment.
First, I don't think anybody would commute between R'dam and A'dam by car, instead of train, just because of the supplement (it used to be € 5,60 initially, mind you).

Second, nobody foresaw the issues surrounding V250 introduction. When new rolling stock arrives, they will run 4 trains per hour between Rotterdam and Schiphol (and Amsterdam) on HSL Zuid.

I assume you know the existing rolling stock cannot use HSL-Zuid because the Dutch signaling system is outdated, and most domestic trains are not fit with the most modern technology (ERTMS) that would allow them to travel on HSL-Zuid. The tension is also different.


Quote:
Of course I speak English as a first language but
I concede these are technical jargons, I come back tomorrow to explain.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 03:04 AM   #2935
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Exactly my point, when the supplement was so high even less people used the train.

The fact that they run extra trains during peak shows they have enough rolling stock for a higher frequency off peak but demand is not there.
Also its not the rolling stock thats the problem its the locos,but they have had plenty of time to do something about that. The line was completed around 2004/2005 I seem to recall.
The main point is they are charging extra €4.60 per return trip. For example my friend used to use it because his company was paying his NS business card. Then they informed him (well everybody) they would only cover standard second class fares. So now he uses the regular train instead. A contract would cost him €50 per month, as he works in sloterdijk he doesn't feel like the extra 15 minutes saved each trip are worth it.
Anyway I look forward to the day they just integrate the line into the rest of the network.
I don't know why so many people insist on joining the A4 carpark everyday but one reason I have been told by drivers is that the trains are so overcrowded.

Yield management works on the basis that each seat is only worth what somebody will pay for it and the fact you cant sell the seat after the train has departed, it is nothing to do with your convuluted reasoning and everything to do with getting as much money as you can out of your passangers. overheads and sunk costs have no bearing on the fare calculations,just high demand means higher prices, less demand means lower prices
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Old September 27th, 2015, 09:17 PM   #2936
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The fact that they run extra trains during peak shows they have enough rolling stock for a higher frequency off peak but demand is not there.
No.
The peak trains (until October) are done in an irregular way, that was in fact so fragile and 'complicated' that these 4 trains (1 return trip per peak) were for months by far the most cancelled trains. The regular services at peak hours are quite packed between Schiphol and Rotterdam and some of them even have regularly standing passengers.
This is also why the supplement is only for Rotterdam - Schiphol, the demand there is high enough to justify and it prevents serious overcrowding. These days when engineering works somewhere else require the HSL as diversion, the supplement is only dropped off-peak. Dropping the supplement in peak hours would result in serious capacity problems.

The new shuttle services between Amsterdam and Rotterdam (starting this October) are done with sandwich compositions (loc on both ends). This is required to enable a reliable turnaround in Rotterdam.
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Old September 27th, 2015, 09:48 PM   #2937
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Is there an example of an introduction of a high speed service where the old service stayed the same? It is almost inevitable that you will get some kind of deterioration of the old service. There will be more travellers overall with the new service, but people disadvantaged will complain, and there are always some people disadvantaged.

I have some sympathy with this, as I don't like spending lots of money and I'm prepared to spend several more hours travelling to get a cheap fare. Since Eurostar came along, it has become difficult to go from England to France or Belgium cheaply. The cheap fares from London to Paris including ferry no longer exist and it takes much longer to go train-boat-train, and the train no longer goes to the ports so you have to get a bus or taxi or take a long walk. There is not even any boat to Oostende any more.

But most people are not like me. Most people want to go from London to Paris or Brussels fast and so Eurostar is always full and expensive unless you book well in advance.

The high speed line between London and the Channel Tunnel (HS1) has a similar issue to HSL-Zuid in that you need to pay a supplement to use the high speed domestic service, but the alternative would be overcrowding.

You don't even need to build a new line to have such issues. The Manchester to London service has been dramatically improved in terms of frequency (every 20 minutes compared to every hour until about 15 years ago) but there has only been a modest improvement in the infrastructure and the line is only 200 km/h, but because of the increased speed, intermediate stops have been missed out which has caused outrage from those who are affected.

In the old days, the only choice when travelling between cities was the "classic train", but the fare was reasonable even on the day. Now you have a choice of high speed train or plane (which can be very cheap when booked in advance or expensive on the day) or long distance bus ("coach" in British English). Because I like saving money, I now use the coach a lot more than I used to in the days of classic trains because of the enhanced service and cheap fares we get nowadays. For example, Amsterdam - Brussels - Paris, London - Amsterdam and London - Paris now have several bus companies running. Now we have such a choice, the medium price and medium speed of the classic train is even more niche.

Do people seriously drive instead of taking the train because the fares are too high? Dutch fares are considerably cheaper than many other countries, especially when comparing with countries of similar wealth.

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Old September 28th, 2015, 01:53 AM   #2938
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The channel tunnel was built by a private consortium and so it is only right that they choose which trains pass through to maximise profit.

But to answer your question, I know travelling between Koln and Basel you have the option to take a eurocity which takes about an hour longer than the ICE and if I remember right it cost about €20 Euros extra for a walk up fare. I used to leave work earlier to get this train as I would rather relax on the train than work and half my pay would have gone on the extra ticket cost. Plus the traditional route between Mainz and Kobelenz is quite stunning. I don't know of any routes in Germany that are ICE only. But if there are, the ICE is not disproportionally exensive compared to IC trains and your rail pass works on them as well.
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Old September 28th, 2015, 02:08 AM   #2939
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The channel tunnel was built by a private consortium and so it is only right that they choose which trains pass through to maximise profit.

But to answer your question, I know travelling between Koln and Basel you have the option to take a eurocity which takes about an hour longer than the ICE and if I remember right it cost about €20 Euros extra for a walk up fare. I used to leave work earlier to get this train as I would rather relax on the train than work and half my pay would have gone on the extra ticket cost. Plus the traditional route between Mainz and Kobelenz is quite stunning. I don't know of any routes in Germany that are ICE only. But if there are, the ICE is not disproportionally exensive compared to IC trains and your rail pass works on them as well.
But you are comparing your very particular situation.

I read that in the early 2000s NS reorganized its network of local trains, tweaking many of them to allow for some more ICs and trying to create better transfers so that people would travel in shorter times. Apparently, there were some bitter protests from groups of costumers that lost "their" one-seat ride even if they could now travel faster (and transfers work just fine in Dutch stations). When sneltrein was abolished in 2011, there were also more protests.

You will never please all users, and there will always be some complaints about those who benefit from the status-quo. That happened even in my city with some reorganization of bus lines, there were couple cases of people complained they lost "their" bus and now had to transfer at the central bus terminal near the station...
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Old September 28th, 2015, 02:39 AM   #2940
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The regular services at peak hours are quite packed between Schiphol and Rotterdam and some of them even have regularly standing passengers.
Four single deck second class coaches between the two biggest citys during peak and some have standing passengers.
Several times I have been unable to board Amsterdam bound intercitys coming from Rotterdam in Haarlem during morning peak and had to jump on the following sprinter, and these are 8 car double deckers. I know these are also collecting from other citys but come on, when are people going to stop defending the whole HSL zuid/ Fyra thing. look at all the billions that have been pumped into it compared to what it has delivered. Even if the appropriately named albatross trains arrived without a hitch its benefits would still have been disproportionally expensive. Why are people having to pay extra to use a route built using public funds? The trains (except Thalys) that use it go no faster than any other dutch train. In the future are NS going to charge extra for using other new (taxpayer funded) infrastructure which cuts journey time?
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