ON FEBRUARY 12 Netherlands Transport Minister Annemarie Jorritsma rejected the concept of open competition for passengers on the national network until at least 2000 unless ’something extra is offered which would add value to existing services.’ She threw out an application by Lovers Rail to run rival services from Amsterdam to Hilversum and Rotterdam. But Lovers will be able to operate an hourly Keukenhof Express between Amsterdam and Leiden via Haarlem to serve the tulip exhibition at Lisse next month.

After reviewing the 30 routes identified by NS as unprofitable, she has agreed to the closure of Almelo - Mari