NETHERLANDS Railways has announced plans to run additional fast passenger services from summer 1998 on routes where parallel roads are subject to acute traffic congestion. Within the Amsterdam - Rotterdam - Den Haag conurbation known as the Randstad, six to seven extra trains will operate each hour, giving a basic service of at least four trains per hour on routes to Amersfoort, Eindhoven and Arnhem. The lines to Schiedam, Zoetermeer, Gouda, Worden and Hilversum will be served by fast trains every 30min.

The new services will run all day and at weekends; NS hopes to attract an extra 50000 passengers a day. The limited-stop trains will be accommodated by withdrawing lightly-used stopping services, prompting independent operator Lovers Rail to renew a request for paths for its own proposed Randstad Express service. This proposal was turned down by infrastructure company Railned last year on capacity grounds (RG 9.97 p510). o

NS Reizigers and regional bus company Oostnet are to form a joint venture known as IGO+ which will operate the Zutphen - Winterswijk and Doetinchem - Winterswijk secondary routes from 1999 (RG 3.97 p133). It is hoped that the use of lightweight diesel railcars and one-person crews will help reduce operating costs down to the level where 50% are met by ticket receipts.