SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch railway company NS carried 4.6% more passengers in the first half of 2019 – more than double the expected increase.
So many more people are using the railways that NS is now worried it will have reached maximum capacity by 2027 and that is three years earlier than forecast.
‘We need more capacity to run more trains,’ railway chief Roger van Boxtel said at the presentation of the company’s half-year figures. ‘We and other transport firms are calling for additional budget to solve infrastructural problems before 2027.’
Growth is particularly strong in the urban central belt, with stations such as Rotterdam, Schiphol and Leiden reporting an above average increase in passenger numbers, NS said.
International train traffic also rose, with the number of passengers travelling to cities such as Brussels, Paris and London growing by between 10% and 20%.
Junior infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven said the government already invests heavily in the state-owned company.
‘And of course, we look where we can focus our investment to book the fastest results for travellers on busy routes,’ she told broadcaster NOS.