Nightjet concession to NS was ‘not unlawful’, Dutch appeals tribunal concludes

The previous Dutch cabinet spent millions in 2019 in subsidies for Dutch Railways (NS) to do its part in the Nightjet from Amsterdam to Vienna. It even changed the rules of the concession, which now turns out not to have been illegal. The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBd) concluded that after several parties opposed and appealed the award.

No less than 6,7 million euros was made available in 2019 by then State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (D66) to subsidise the Nightjet, which from Amsterdam to Vienna and Innsbruck on daily basis and is jointly operated with ÖBB.

FlixBus, private operators interest group AllRail and the Dutch Mobility Federation (Federatie Mobiliteitsbedrijven Nederland) objected to the award and the subsidy to cover the operating deficit of NS. The CBd did not go along with it. As the tribunal’s rulings are final, no appeal is possible.

No more subsidy for international night trains

The current government has indicated that they will no longer provide a subsidy for an international sleeper train services. The demand for more and better night-time connections is increasing, but according to cabinet, these need not necessarily be facilitated by NS in the future.

Nevertheless, the government still has the objective to increase rail travel in Europe, and although cabinet no longer wishes to provide subsidies, it is considering ways to make international train travel more attractive. Plans , however, have yet to materialise and must still be worked out by Cabinet and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

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Author: Kenneth Steffers

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