Additional high-speed trains from the Netherlands unlikely in coming years
It will not be until 2036 that capacity will increase on the Dutch high-speed railway HSL to accommodate additional international trains, state secretary for infrastructure and water management Vivianne Heijen told parliament this week.
At present, the HSL can accommodate two high-speed rail services and two fast railway services. As such, there are Thalys service and a Eurostar departures every hour. It might take another 14 years to double that capacity, as putting additional services into operation hinges on the timely completion of a new platform at the Zuidasdok the southern edge of Amsterdam’s inner city area.
Heijen also warned that the capacity on the Belgian section of the line is currently insufficient as well. It remains to be seen whether this will change in the future. The state secretary further cautioned that starting additional services is also reliant on demand from passengers. Demand for international train travel has yet to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
In fact, the availability of high-speed services might actually decrease in the coming years. Due to construction at Amsterdam Central Station, the required security and passport control area for the Eurostar will no longer be available from January 1 2024 onwards. This would put an end to daily departures from the Dutch capitol. Work is underway to find a location for a temporary station, as Heijen said it would be “unacceptable” not to have a direct service from Amsterdam to London for years on end.
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