NETHERLANDS Railways has a problem. It has become a victim of its own success. Such is the growth in passenger traffic that NS Reizigers has had to adopt a number of tactics to get more seats on its trains. One important strand is refurbishment of the 1964-built four-car ’Plan T’ EMUs.

NS Materieel’s Revisiebedrijf Haarlem has begun a programme which will see all 31 of these EMUs given updated interiors, with upholstered seating and diffused lighting. The work should allow the trains to give another eight years of useful service.

The opportunity is being taken to maximise the use of space, and redesign problem areas to ease cleaning and minimise the risk of vandalism. As built, the Plan T stock included a guard’s compartment and catering kitchen. These have been unused since about 1990, but as the units pass through Haarlem works, these areas will be stripped out and extra seating fitted, providing 34 more seats per train.

NS is also putting into service 80 former-SNCB inter-city coaches, and 25 Plan W coaches which NS had stored out of use, over and above fleet expansion already planned (RG 11.97 p754). As well as providing a further 8000 seats to relieve short-term overcrowding, they will help cover for other stock being refurbished, including 316 coaches from the NS Intercity fleet built in the early 1980s. These are to be provided with new seating, air-conditioning and disabled facilities, based on the long-running IC+ development (RG 8.95 PP p8).

Longer-term plans revealed on March 31 include purchase of another 128 double-deck Regiorunner EMU vehicles (RG 5.94 p285). These will be used to strengthen present three-car sets to four, and four-car units up to six. They will also be designed with operation at 25 kV AC in mind for future use on the high-speed lines and other routes should conversion go ahead.

CAPTION: A driving trailer from the second set was ’floated out’ by NS Materieel’s Haarlem works on March 31 for inspection by invited guests

CAPTION: The first completed unit re-entered service towards the end of March

CAPTION: First Class (left) has blue upholstered seating with a glass partition between the smoking and non-smoking areas. The Second Class area (right), shows the new finishes on both the floor and walls