How well does the Dutch Railways (NS) perform compared to foreign train carriers?

In my experience, the Netherlands has one of the better train systems in Europe.Quite little delay, clean coupés, and clearly stated times and stops are for me the biggest plus points. However, you can sometimes dwell for a long time by a collision or signalling interference, and they are not always thought up on weather conditions. Also, the tickets are really quite expensive, compared to some other countries.

I travel daily with the NS, also I have made a number of times an interrail trip through Europe.The latter do not give a full picture of the trains in a country, so I emphasize that I only speak from personal experiences.

In terms of comfort, the NS intercity’s passengers give less space than for example German ICE trains, which in my opinion have the most luxurious interior.However, I have relatively often had problems with the ICE train (long delay of an hour or more, reservations that proved invalid because the relevant wagon was disconnected). The NS certainly does not fall for the ‘ regular ‘ German trains.

However, the NS will do a long time to react if a train has had a collision, for example.I have every understanding of course that it is a difficult situation. I have been seated twice in a train when a stag was hit, one time in Austria and once in the Netherlands, but in Austria they knew really significantly quicker to react. Austrian trains are also very fine.

My worst experiences with trains have been in England and Serbia.In England I had two times that a train just didn’t show up, the first time it happened I had to buy a new ticket, the second time I almost missed my flight because I had to wait an hour for the next train. In London you should expect that train journeys to the airports were well arranged, but apparently not…

In Serbia I had a night train that would travel through to Belgrade, arrival time about 6 am.At 4 o’clock at night we were put out in the middle of nowhere because the train did not go, not very convenient.I do not see this happening in the Netherlands so quickly; If trains cannot drive further, the NS buses must be wagered so you still have options. I do find it a pity that you no longer have those romantic night trains in the Netherlands.

If you are ever in Slovakia, I can also recommend the TEZ trains, these are the electric trains that go through the high Tatra mountains.Beautiful route, fine appearance, definitely reliable. Incidentally, I found the trains in general in Slovakia also good, but times are not always well signposted, and many stations have no platform or so, which means that you sometimes have to walk across the track. Then the Dutch stations are somewhat clearer.

What I also think is good about the NS is that it is not possible to reserve a seat.That may sound weird, but I often saw in Germany for example that seats were marked as reserved (and I had to walk with my heavy backpack), to look again after departure and to see that a lot of these reserved seats remained empty. I heard from someone that this was because some people placed reservations on different trains so they could grab another seat in a previous or later train if their trip ran differently. Then I prefer that anyone who buys a ticket has equal chances to conquer a seat.

Quite a lot of trains do have sockets to recharge your equipment, which is far from all trains at the NS, at least at the Intercity’s.Would be handy though. Also, the Internet is not always as good. This is also different from abroad, but German and Slovak trains do have Internet, but you pass the border to the Czech Republic, on the same train, this will stop abruptly.

The classification of the NS trains is also different than in many other countries.The coupés here have an open layout, but many trains in central and Eastern Europe have sheltered coupés with 6 seats, and doors that you can do close, with the walkway on one side. This gives you more privacy, and it’s wonderful if you’re lucky enough to have one for yourself, but it’s sometimes quite uncomfortable to be so intimate with strangers. And if you’re stuck with a drunkenhood or creep, it’s just a little harder to ignore them than in a NS train.

We Dutchmen tend to complain about the NS, and some things can also really be even better.Yet I always key a sigh of enlightenment when I return to the Netherlands within a row. If I have lag, at least I know that it will not take an hour…

Compared to the Caltrain here in California the NS do a lot better.

The Caltrain has only one line, which goes from San Francisco in the north to San Jose in the south.You can’t take it directly to San Francisco Airport or San Jose; For that you have to take a bus or the Metro. Both the Caltrain and the local metro system, the BART, have stations in San Francisco, but you can’t switch from one to the other: that has to go south in Millbrae. The NS system is much better connected to Schiphol and to other public transport.

Caltrain also has very regular delays, to my impression more often than the NS. That is partly because the whole line goes through inhabited area and there are many ground-level contemplating.That’s why a car is regularly hit by a train somewhere, which then leads to hours of delay throughout the system.

The NS also makes it easier to see where your train is going.At the station you can see on the signs where the train is going to stop and also in the train itself there are monitors where you can see where you are. At the Caltrain there is only a train, and to find out where the train stops exactly, you have to read the timetable. The train is called where you are when the train is going to stop, but that is not always easy to hear and sometimes the operator is mistaken (“Now arriving at Hillsdale… Uh, San Mateo Station “).

However, it is not so bad either.I take the Caltrain every day to work and usually it’s all without problems.

Pretty good compared to some English train companies.

For example, with delays, the Thameslink has no notifications on drives.We were waiting for one and a half hours in Wivelsfield (near London), as there was simply no train passing by.

To find out something you have to call the airline.There you will get a band with notifications. Hopefully the message you want is there…

Our son who has been living in London for 6 years says:

“The Dutch don’t know how spoiled they are with their NS!”

It is all relative, compared to the British or Italian railways, the NS does not emerge badly.This in terms of maintenance of the trainset, timetable and service.

However, delays are regular (the trajectory from Amsterdam CS and Leiden in my own experience)

Handling of complaints leaves to be desired (3 hours delay due to forced switching to buses) and often not honoured.

If you then take the train in China, Hong Kong or Japan (own experience) then you should still note:

-Almost no delays, and rarely longer than 10 min

-No annoying or noisy fellow travellers, by the presence of stewards

-A lot of cleaner and clean train booths.

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