Fast train to Germany and national train subway system

By 2040, travellers will be able to use a subway-like train service on national urban rings, good connections to other routes via high-quality railway stations, and a fast train connection to Germany. This is stated in the Future Perspective for Public Transport 2040 (Toekomstbeeld OV 2040), which State Secretary Van Veldhoven is forwarding to the House of Representatives today. This Future Perspective represents a collective view of all the public transport sector parties and all the governments involved on how public transport in the Netherlands should be substantiated by 2040.

State Secretary Van Veldhoven: ‘Increasingly more people travel by public transport. Urban areas will see a 30 to 40 per cent growth in the number of travellers by 2040. We aim to ensure that all these additional travellers will also score an average 8 to their journeys in 2040. This means that we need to pull out all the stops now. Faster trains that operate on the national urban rings at ten-minute intervals on average, like a type of subway, and high-quality railway stations where train services seamlessly link up with other types of transport in the city and in the rest of the region.’

National subway network

The national urban ring is focusing on fast, high-quality, and frequent services. The “subway network” will be based on the “ten-minute trains” that will be introduced on the busiest routes of the Dutch railway system in the years ahead. The new ERTMS railway security system enables trains to safely follow one another more closely, which can raise the number of trains on some routes even further. Faster connections call for sharp choices. For example, some trains will be stopping at fewer stations. The removal of some urban ring railway crossings will generate additional time gains.

The ring cities will become public transport hubs for both the national transit network and the regional transit networks in the hinterland. Public transport in these regions must seamlessly link up with these hubs, in order to reduce travel times for all their residents. In addition, the railway stations must facilitate transfers to urban public transport, including bicycles and shared-use cars.

Fast train to Germany

By 2040, the train must be the most obvious option for travelling to neighbouring countries. The Netherlands already boasts strong international services to the countries south of us and a wide range of services to London.

State Secretary Van Veldhoven: ‘From Rotterdam, it now only takes three hours to reach downtown Paris. But as yet, we do not have such a fast and high-quality train service to our main trading partner.’

The State Secretary intends to explore ways to connect the Randstad conurbation to the German high-speed railway network. With this study, she aims to follow up the recent initial analysis of ways to reduce travel times between Amsterdam and Berlin. The State Secretary plans to join forces with the Germans in her pursuit of a fast train service. She also intends to take the matter up with the new EU Commissioner later this year.

In order to ensure that international trains will constitute a fully-fledged alternative to flying by 2040, Ms Van Veldhoven is committed to having fast trains to Paris and London run every hour in the near future. Her aim is even to have two trains an hour run to Brussels.

Improving regional public transport

Public transport must become more appealing, even in sparsely populated areas. All too many routes feature empty buses, while travellers lack appropriate transport. This will be remedied by innovations such as setting up small-scale transport options from people’s front door, which seamlessly link up with faster regional coaches or a railway station. The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) project is experimenting with new ways to raise the appeal of public transport. Pilot studies will be launched in seven regions before very long. In the South Limburg region, the aim is to improve transnational train connections. The Groningen, Drenthe, and Twente regions will be conducting pilot studies in sparsely populated areas involving volunteer bus services and target group transport, but also shared-use rollators and shared-use mobility scooters. The studies are intended to ensure that regional public transport remains accessible and appealing to as many people as possible.