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Nederlandse Spoorwegen

From Academic Kids

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is the main public transport railway company in the Netherlands. It uses the tracks and other railway network infrastructure supplied by ProRail, which used to be part of the NS as well.

Their coverage throughout the country is excellent with almost all cities connected, and a train service of two trains an hour or more in the biggest part of the country (at least 4 trains per hour between all of the largest 4 cities; Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag and Utrecht). Train routes in the Netherlands shows all the routes of the Dutch Railways and the NS and the private companies. Trains usually run between 6 and midnight, although there is also a night line which connects the Randstad all night long.

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Warning sign for passing intercity trains on Nieuw Vennep station

There are three kinds of passenger trains:

  • A 'Stoptrein' (local train) stops at all stations, and is mainly used for local trraffic. On some smaller lines though, it is the only way to travel. 'Sprinters' are trains operating as a 'stoptrein', but only on dedicated lines in the Randstad.
  • A 'Sneltrein' (fast train) skips a few smaller stops, and connects the bigger stations with each other. 'Sneltreinen' do not run everywhere. The most important ones run between the south-western city of Roosendaal and Zwolle in the north-east twice hourly and between Arnhem/Nijmegen and Rotterdam/Den Haag twice hourly as well..
  • 'Intercities' only stop at the bigger places, and have been introduced in the 1970s to provide fast train connections throughout the country.

The biggest part of the lines are electrified, all by 1500V DC. The HSL Zuid (between Hoofddorp and Belgian border) and Betuweroute (between Zevenaar and Rotterdam) will be electrified by 25kV 50Hz AC. The company is fully owned by the Dutch state. There are plans for a share issue to the public in future.

NS shares a common tariff system with the three smaller passenger train operating companies (Syntus and Connexxion in the east, NoordNed up north) in the country.

The NS is pushing people to buy their domestic tickets at ticket machines. They are still available at counters (which they want to develop into service centres) at bigger stations for a supplement of € 0,50 per ticket (with a maximum of € 1 per occasion) since June 2004. In the train a much higher supplement is applicable.

Contents

Divisions of NS

In dealing with the general public, these distinctions are not made and the terms Nederlandse Spoorwegen and NS are used.

NS has contracts with Connexxion and BBA for the provision of bus services to replace train services in the case of planned and unplanned cancellations.

Policy

There is a delay refund scheme entitling passengers to a partial or full refund of the ticket price if a journey is delayed by half an hour or more, except for short-distance journeys and cases in which the delay is the result of planned cancellations that were announced some days in advance. Refunds are in general half the ticketprice of a one-way trip after a 30-59 minutes delay and the complete ticketprice after a delay of one hour or more. This applies to nearly all sorts of (additional) tickets. The refund is not conceived of as a monetary compensation for lost time but rather as a reduction in charges where a poor service has been provided. The costs to NS of this scheme are kept manageable by not overstreamlining the claim procedure for passengers: many do not claim because the system is perceived as cumbersome. Part of the cost of the scheme is paid by ProRail, since they are responsible for part of the delays.

Since January 1, 2004 tobacco smoking is forbidden on domestic trains, station halls and covered parts of platforms. The smoking of cannabis was already forbidden, though it happens occasionally and is perhaps not as severely punished as in some other countries (perhaps it is punished the same as tobacco smoking). Smoking is allowed near smoking-zones (Rookzones), poles with an ash-tray built in, seemingly randomly scattered around stations.

Since June 2003, the sale of coffee, soft drinks, beer, sandwiches, candy, etc. has ceased aboard domestic trains. The increasing number of convenience stores on railway stations and the relatively short duration of most train journeys in the Netherlands have lowered the demand for on-train services.

Conductors have a small computer called Railpocket with timetable and fares information. The latest version is the HP iPaq h4350 Pocket PC, which can communicate through Bluetooth with their new Sony Ericsson T610 GPRS-telephone.

See also

External link:

de:Nederlandse Spoorwegen fr:Nederlandse Spoorwegen nl:Nederlandse Spoorwegen sv:NS

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