NS’ ICNG train set makes passenger debut as Benelux deployment delayed

On Wednesday 19 April 2023, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) introduced its ICNG, nicknamed ‘Wasp‘, into commercial passenger service in the Netherlands. The rolling stock will further be deployment over the next months. Introduction on the Brussels – Amsterdam Benelux service is delayed. 

The Dutch Intercity New Generation (ICNG) will enter the Amsterdam – Brussels route a few months later than anticipated. The State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Vivianne Heijnen (CDA- informed the Dutch Lower House this week, reports RailTech.be

The first trains are expected in the course of the second quarter of 2024, after which a timetable can be run in the 2025 timetable. It’s unclear if it’s the timetable starting December 2024 or December 2025. In Europe, major train timetable updates are introduced on the second Sunday of December. 

Initially, the intention was to have the ICNG inflow in the last quarter of 2023. That will not happen, is the conclusion of an external test that the parties involved had carried out by research agency Railitics into the feasibility of the original planning.

Technical issues

Production errors at Alstom and damage to some trains already produced mean that some have to be returned to the factory. In the coming period, however, the ICNG will already test drive with travelers on the Benelux route. The Wasp has already been sighted many times in Belgium.

As mentioned, the new trains will formally enter the Benelux connection in the second quarter. NS says that “with the current insights” it has sufficient rolling stock available to run the new trains from the 2025 timetable. 

A total of 20 ICNGs will be made suitable for cross-border train traffic to Belgium.

Two itineraries

Word on the street is there will be two kinds of intercity trains between Belgium and the Netherlands. A fast route would skip Noorderkempen and Breda, and perhaps terminate at Amsterdam South instead of Amsterdam Central

The outher type would be slower and connect Antwerp, Nooderkempen, Breda and then perhaps The Hague instead of Amsterdam. This Benelux service would be locomotive hauled as is now currently the case and use NMBS / SNCB I10 and / or I11 coaches.


In the longer term, NS has plans to connect Brussels to Düsseldorf via Antwerp and Eindhoven, Gazet van Antwerp reports. The last part of this route will be taken into use in 2026. There is no timing yet for the first part. If it ever comes to that, this could lead to adjustments to the route of the current Benelux train.


The Nederlandse Spoorwegen began procurement of a new intercity trainset in July 2014. The respondents were Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and Stadler.

In May 2016 NS announced that Alstom had won a contract for around 80 trainsets. At the end of May, the contract was finalized to include a total of 79 trainsets, including 49 5-car units, 30 8-car units, and two 8-car units equipped for operation in both the Netherlands and Belgium. 

An additional order for 18 8-car units was later placed to operate international intercity services between Amsterdam and Brussels, bringing the total number of Belgium-equipped units to 20.

The first train arrived in the Netherlands in May 2020 to begin testing on the Dutch railway network. The ICNG will operate at speeds up to 200 kph on the high-speed line, a significant improvement over the existing equipment, which can only operate up to 160 kph.

Coradia Stream

The ICNG is based on the Coradia Stream trains by Alstom. These are popular trains, used in France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Algeria and Senegal.


Fit for Belgium

The ICNGB or 3300 series trainsets come with eight carriages, each good for 410 seats. This version has an extra toilet and more luggage space, and is suitable for the Belgian rail protection system and 3kV overhead lines used by Infrabel.

The ICNGB are expected to be introduced in Belgium in 2025.


In the meantime, Alstom has started developing an ICNGD, for Germany, capable of operating using 1.5kV dc, 1.5kV 16.7Hz ac and 25kV 50Hz ac. Two prototypes have been ordered NS is expected to place a firm order in the near future.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. elvira797mx says:

    Love trains, thank’s for share Timothy.
    Have a lovely day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Timothy says:

      We love trains too.

      Have a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. elvira797mx says:

        Thank’s Timothy, you as well.

        Liked by 1 person

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