Railway management during the winter in the Netherlands

Railway management during the winter in the Netherlands

Anyone who wanted to use the track last Sunday was disappointed. Due to power cuts, the movement of trains in our country has stopped, while the mercury has only dropped a few degrees below freezing. As of now, ProRail is still busy repairing a disrupted rail infrastructure.

You can say whatever you want from Russia, but when it comes to vaccinations, they have things to order there. This also certainly applies to the railway administration. Trains generally run on time there. Even a train that crosses Siberia holds up well in winter. The BAM Express is the northerly train route in the world, connecting many cities and villages in Siberia over a distance of 4000 km. Even in snowstorms and temperatures as low as 50 degrees below zero, the schedule is well maintained.

Also in countries like Switzerland and Norway, they know how to professionally manage the railway network. Even during the winter, weather conditions can take extreme forms in some areas. At this time of year, especially in the mountains, avalanches and icy conditions can completely paralyze train traffic. However, every year, it is possible to reduce the interruption of train traffic to a minimum. In terms of punctuality, railways are hardly inferior in winter to summer. Also in our southern neighbors, they have little problem with blackouts, if the winter is heavy. In Infrabel, the Belgian counterpart of ProRail, the railway management is in good hands. Scenes like the ones we’ve seen in recent days hardly happen there anymore. Our southern neighbors can safely use the “iron track” during this time.

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Array arrayAccording to the ProRail manager, it has been nearly impossible to start in recent days due to weather conditions. “She was wiping the tap!” Over the past few days, a lot of work has been done on the track to make train traffic possible. Fault teams are constantly working on resolving issues with switches. There are also auxiliary locomotives used to keep trapped trains off the track. In the past, we had switch guards and train drivers who could solve the problem of busy switches on the track by themselves. Even in 1963, when we experienced the harshest winters of the twentieth century, the Netherlands looked a lot like an enormous Arctic plain. However, ski fans can always count on our railways during this winter to be on time for Elfstedentocht in Leeuwarden.

“We have to get rid of the gas to start ProRail!”, Is a motto quite relevant in this context. As long as two-thirds of the switches along our path are still heated with gas, the wiping is open with the faucet. With every severe snowstorm and a very cold chill, these storms are immediately disrupted, because the glass flame controls them. The comparison with old boilers is clear here. Often these things get extinguished, too, because the pilot flame no longer does its job. In Switzerland and Belgium they are more rational and have chosen a more structural solution in the past. Railroad managers have long since dumped gas there. All points are now electrically heated there. This prevents a lot of hassle and puts an end to the yearly frequent accident management.

Dear ProRail Management,

A few years ago, ProRail started the next campaign: Connect, Optimize, and Make More Sustainable. I would like to say get off the gasoline today and you will be on your way


Toon Verbeek

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