Iron Rhine in the Netherlands. Photo: Dolph Cantrijn/Hollandse Hoogte

Dutch network up and running again after track deficiencies

Iron Rhine in the Netherlands. Photo: Dolph Cantrijn/Hollandse Hoogte. To be used until 23 January 2020

The emergency repairs on the Dutch railway network have been completed. This is reported by rail freight operator DB Cargo. Last night, several rail routes had to be closed as deficiencies were discovered in five places on the network on Wednesday, during an inspection round by infrastructure manager ProRail. This is particular impacted rail freight.

A spokesperson for ProRail reports that the deficiencies included a subsidence of the track at Lage Zwaluwe, a technical failure of the rail protection system at Breda (section failure) and a repair of switches at Vught. “We tried to keep track availability as high as possible during the work and performed the work as well as possible.”

Rail traffic restrictions

Due to the repair work, there were restrictions on train traffic from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday. The routes that had this effect were Kijfhoek-Roosendaal, Kijfhoek–Eindhoven–Venlo and Utrecht–Den Bosch-Eindhoven.

There was always a track available between Kijfhoek and Venlo. No train traffic was possible between Kijfhoek and the port area from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursday night. From 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., only a track was available between Kijfhoek and the Port Area.

According to DB Cargo, good cooperation with ProRail traffic control made it possible to keep train traffic going. The rail freight operator expects to be able to offer a normal train service in the Netherlands on Thursday.

Third track work

The emergency repairs coincide with planned work by the German rail manager DB Netze, as a result of which both tracks of the Emmerich – Oberhausen section are closed. RailGood industry association is not amused: “Rail freight transport was already three days behind schedule due to the activities of DB Netze in Germany. The traffic control of ProRail and DB Netze do not work well together in the event of calamities. It looks like a mini-Rastatt”, says director Hans-Willem Vroon.

According to the ProRail spokesperson, the two rail managers are indeed discussing planned work. “We try to protect the interests of the parties as best we can, but in this we depend on our German partners. It is frustrating that this causes nuisance for carriers.” He points out that DB Netze is also working at the border crossing at Venlo, which results in restrictions on train traffic.

Work on the Emmerich-Oberhausen section, which is part of the third track in Germany, will continue until April 22.

This article was orginally published on Spoorpro, our Dutch sister publication.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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