ProRail conducts research at the railway base

ProRail doet onderzoek naar de spoorbodem. (Foto: Rob Dammers)

In many places, the land under the tracks is not suitable to accommodate the growing number of trains. This is the conclusion of a study by As a result, some trains must slow down and the planned new train services cannot continue.

The issues below the track have been confirmed by NS and ProRail to The research should show how to solve problems.

soft bottom

“More heavy trains are being run in the Netherlands, which will have consequences for the subsoil,” ProRail director John Vauben told the news site. In 2017, it became urgently clear that the opening of the Zwolle Stadhagen station on the electrified and faster train line from Zwolle to Kampen had to be postponed because the peat soil was too soft. “We then realized that we also had to check if the track surface could handle more heavier trains,” Voppen explains.

According to ProRail, future ten-minute trains are also under pressure, as more and more trains are running, which are also becoming heavier. “This fits the current schedule, but it will become an issue in the future,” he says. ProRail spokesperson Coen van Kranenburg. According to Geert Kollen of the Dutch Railways, the soils on the various roads are made of clay or peat, and there is a risk of delaying improvements or having to drive at a lower speed. This is why Sprinter train groups are used on the railway route between Utrecht and Leiden, which acts as an intercity area.

For example, due to poor terrain, this track was not suitable for many years for locomotives that were also used in the trunks of earlier DD-AR trains. Due to the unstable track floor, the NS layout always took into account that such a locomotive was never used with the axle load that was too heavy.

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heavy trains

A number of heavy trains include the Vectron locomotive used for Nightjet connections to Austria and Switzerland. On the road between Arnhem and Utrecht, this train travels only at a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour, while it can usually drive 130 kilometers per hour.

It also appears that the faster Berlin train has been stopped due to the speed limit. Although ProRail had the ambition earlier in 2018 to make that international connection faster, there appears to be little room in the Netherlands for shorter travel times. New Talgo locomotives also threaten to drive slower. NS and ProRail are currently studying different solutions to save time in 2024.


ProRail emphasizes that safety is not an issue. They indicated that they have started the investigation and that it is supposed to be completed by the end of 2022. This should clarify what measures can be taken in the future to improve the course.

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