Several test journeys on the intercity train route between the north and The Hague have proven that train trips could be considerably shorter.
Translation by Hans de Preter
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that travel time was reduced by 17 minutes to 2 hours and 21 minutes during a test in February, but the potential travel time reduction from Leeuwarden was even better, shortening the journey by up to 25 minutes.
The time gained during the test drive was due to the lack of stops at train stations in Assen, Almere and Leiden – the accelerated express service still called at Zwolle, Lelystad Centrum, Amsterdam-Zuid and Schiphol.
During the test drive, a so-called TRAXX locomotive was also used, which normally runs on the high speed line HSL-Zuid, which meant traveling at top speeds of 160 km per hour (as opposed to the normal 140).
The test was held during more favourable travel hours overnight, but daytime travel is a different story with more potential for delays due to more trains on the rails. NS will also run an accelerated service test including Assen at some point later this year and will eventually decide which variant to pursue. It is likely to take years before the faster trains service actually comes online.
A strike for better pension conditions has been planned for public transportation providers across the country on Tuesday, 28 May. According to Arriva, the majority of their services will not be running on Tuesday.
In Friesland, the transport company writes that the trains and buses will not be running on the mainland (except for lines 166 and 66 between Leeuwarden and Holwerd). Arriva bus service on the Wadden islands is expected to run a normal schedule, and local buses are also supposed to be operating normally. In Groningen and Drenthe, Arriva trains will not be running, but a definitive decision about bus lines 304, 314 and 324 has yet to be made.
As for Qbuzz, the bus company writes on their site that the exact bus lines which will be impacted will not be officially known until the 28th.
Universities and schools across the region are holding final exams this week, and some institutions will permit students to retake the exams if they are unable to travel due to the strike. The Hanze University of Applied Sciences has arranged for shuttle buses in the city but has advised students to contact their faculties if they are unable to make it. The University of Groningen will be moving forward with normal educational activities, but there will not be any consequences for students who cannot make it to campus.