Eight train connections between the Netherlands and Belgium by 2030? 

The news the BrusselsAmsterdamBenelux‘ train connection could or will be shortened by 40 minutes, dropping a few stops along the way, has led to other information. 

In 2019, ProRail issued a map with a vision of 2030. ProRail manages the rail infrastructure in the Netherlands and is the equivalent of Infrabel in Belgium, Network Rail in Great Britain or SNCF Réseau in France

There are also changes to the train connections between the Netherlands and Belgium visible.

Belgian MR75 / AM 75 in Roosendaal.

The situation today

Today, you can reach the Netherlands from Belgium

  • with the S32 omnibus PuursAntwerpRoosendaal;
  • with the Benelux, a.k.a. Brusselaar, a.k.a. Amsterdammer;
  • with the S43 omnibus HasseltLiègeMaastricht;
  • with the Thalys, Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam;
  • with the Eurostar, London – Brussels – Amsterdam.

So five options. You need to book a seat on Thalys and Eurostar in advance, so it offers less flexibility and improvisation.

Check out to go to Belgium, in Roosendaal.

2030

On the 2030 rail map, there are more options.

  • The S32 Puurs – Antwerp – Roosendaal;
  • A fast Benelux, stopping fewer times;
  • A ‘slow’ Benelux, stopping more often (as it does now);
  • An Antwerp – Noorderkempen – Breda connection;
  • The S43 would become a ‘tri-country train’, connecting Liège, Maastricht and Aachen in Germany.
  • The 43XX train from Antwerp to Hamont would be prolonged to Weert;
  • The Thalys;
  • The Eurostar.
2030 Dutch rail network map. By ProRail.

Ambitious

The map is ambition. In a conversation with Treinreiziger.nl, ProRail designer Klaas Hofstra explain the maps shows what is possible. “This map is not a wish, nor a promise by ProRail. It’s a base for conversations with our sector partners”. 

These partners are the train operators such as the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).

The 2030 is ambitious and perhaps even outdated. COVID-19 has delayed the arrival of new rolling stock and engineering works on the infrastructure. ProRail wants to switch from 1.5 kV to 3.0 kV (as in Belgium), but that is a costly and time-consuming venture. All NS rolling stock must be adapted. 

The Weert connection and the tri-country connection have a topic for a long time, but there isn’t much movement in these projects. 

Belgian MW41 / AR41 indicating Weert.

NMBS / SNCB

On 1 February, Belgian train operator NMBS / SNCB announced the purchase of at least 24 Traxx electric locomotives by Alstom capable of going from Belgium to the Netherlands, to Germany, to Luxembourg and to France. Those locos will be able to ride at 200 kph. 

Those could be used for a train from Brussels to Rotterdam stopping at Brussels Airport – Zavemtem, Mechelen, Noorderkempen and Breda. I11 coaches would be used.

So we’ll see what happens. We”ll keep you posted. 

More on Benelux trains

More on trains

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