This should save half an hour in travelling time to Berlin and half an hour less travelling time to Brussels also seems possible, says the NS (Dutch Railways). The journey to Brussels now takes 2 hours and 52 minutes, to Berlin the train journey takes 6 hours and 20 minutes.
Better infrastructure, fewer stops
The faster journey to Berlin is possible due to a better timetable in the Netherlands and Germany, the cancellation of the locomotive change at the border and the skipping of the German stations Minden and Stendal. Political decisions still have to be taken on the improvement of the infrastructure on the route.
According to Marjan Rintel, who is responsible for the day-to-day running of the railway company, the journey to Berlin is still too long compared to the fast connections with Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. “In the eastern direction, it’s not time for a step, it’s time for a jump.” According to her, this requires, among other things, a substantial improvement of the track between Utrecht and Arnhem.
Saving time is possible towards Brussels because the new trains can run part of the route at a top speed of 200 kilometres per hour. The NS is discussing with the Belgian carrier SNCB whether an extra fast intercity can be used. The exact route and the stations where stops will be made are still being looked into.
Use corona period
“Belgium and Germany are our most important trading partners alongside neighbouring countries”, says Rintel, who will succeed Roger van Boxtel as president of NS on 1 October. “The number of rail passengers to Brussels will grow by 14 percent in 2019 and to Berlin by as much as 20 percent. Without the impact of corona, we would have irrevocably run up against the limits of that growth in the coming years.”
Rintel would like this corona period to be used to shift passenger flows from road and air traffic to the train. “