Last weekend, hundreds of travelers were left stranded on over-packed train platforms due to track maintenance between Groningen and Zwolle. The maintenance, which is set to continue until the 23rd of May, caused disruptions all throughout the northern provinces, especially at the central stations in Groningen and Leeuwarden.
Maintenance on the Groningen-Zwolle line is far from uncommon, however, the situation this time around seemed substantially worse than usual.
According to Sikkom, overcrowding at the stations was so severe that travelers were reportedly “packed like sardines” with little room to move, let alone board, the few remaining already-full trains that were still running.
“People who were headed to Zwolle or further were irritated and pissed off with the delays and waiting,” says Marissa Bloupot, a Groninger who was caught in the train disruption mayhem. She states that the NS had recommended to the already frustrated travelers that they should take an Arriva train to Leeuwarden; a journey which would cost them extra time and train fees.
Except the Arriva trains were too small to handle the masses gathered at the Groningen central station.
The situation was worsened by an apparent lack of replacement busses, causing further delays which in turn contributed to the chaos on the platforms. At some point, the NS and Arriva services seemingly capsized. Signs which would typically display train and bus times simply stated “Probeer ander vervoer te regelen,” or “Try to organize other transport.”
“A deep sigh and a roll with my eyes,” was Marissa’s immediate reaction to the disruption, one that was likely shared by many of her fellow passengers.
The situation is expected to alleviate once work stops on May 23rd, but Groningers and Leeuwardeners alike are still hoping for a more permanent solution to what feels like a never-ending cycle of train problems.
Fortunately, research on new train lines is underway, hoping to improve connections both internally, and internationally.