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Collaboration in the context of scheduled and unscheduled withdrawals

Over the past year, COVID-19, the lack of raw materials due to the war in Ukraine, and high energy prices also affected works on the tracks. Some of the work could not be carried out, or only in a way different than planned. In addition, the possibilities to use buses to replace trains during works were limited. In order to maintain a reliable and safe timetable, NS had intensive contacts with ProRail and other stakeholders, resulting in collaboration such as for the works in the areas of Hoogenveen and Ede, and intensive collaboration after the accident with a high-voltage power cable between Lelystad and Dronten.

ProRail is also engaged in a major track replacement and maintenance project which, if the policy remains unchanged, will result in further inconvenience. NS believes it is extremely important for the costs and benefits of all parties involved to be carefully weighed - including inconvenience for passengers and the consequences for the transport franchise. We also undertook the following actions in 2022:

  • Ensured timely information for passengers

  • Contributed to the Work on the Tracks to Prepare for the Future programme

  • Drew up and coordinated scenarios for large-scale works in the Schiphol Tunnel starting in 2023 and several other major withdrawals in 2024 and 2025

  • Participated in the Transport and Master Plan consultation to manage the impact of maintenance and repair works in collaboration with passenger and goods carriers.

  • Tightened agreements with bus suppliers in response to the shortage of buses during works by ProRail in the Meppel area between 7 and 23 May. Despite the fact that NS had asked for replacement buses in advance, as agreed, at the very last moment the bus suppliers proved unable to provide the requested number of buses due to a lack of bus drivers. Bus services were cancelled, and passengers were confronted with long queues or had to make a detour to arrive at their destination. Under the new agreements, the bus suppliers will inform NS at an early stage whether they are able to provide the number of buses required. If they are not, NS will have time to communicate alternatives to passengers.

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