NETHERLANDS: National passenger operator NS plans to run a one-off test train to assess what infrastructure and operational changes would be needed to provide a 15 min reduction in journey times between Groningen, Zwolle and the Randstad region.
The trial planned for next year would use a Bombardier Transportation Traxx electric locomotive and ICR coaches. These would be able to run at 160 km/h on the Hanze Line section of the route, which opened in 2012 and is currently used by trains operating at up to 140 km/h.
Subject to the result of the trial, NS envisages that faster regular services could be introduced from 2021 at the earliest, possibly with two peak trains per day in addition to the regular inter-city service.
Announcing the plan on November 6, NS CEO Roger van Boxtel said shorter journey times are more attractive to passengers, and a faster service to Groningen could serve as a model for other routes.