International train takes off
Strengthen the international train so that it becomes an attractive alternative to short flights for more travellers. That is the ambition of the “Action Agenda for Train and Aviation” that was sent to the Lower House today. The agenda has been drawn up by Schiphol, ProRail, KLM and NS in collaboration with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
The agenda contains actions and measures to make the international train at distances up to 700 kilometres a logical choice as an alternative to and in addition to air traffic. Routes to six travel destinations are named that can also be reached by train from Schiphol or Amsterdam. The bottlenecks and possible actions have been mapped for each of these routes. The routes that have been investigated have as final destination Brussels, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin.
These six destinations are now also easily accessible by rail. Before the corona pandemic, for example, twelve trains a day ran between Amsterdam and Paris and the direct train connection to London also makes the train an attractive alternative to the plane. But to make the train even more attractive, more needs to be done. That is why it will be investigated whether trains to and from London and Düsseldorf / Frankfurt can get a stop at Schiphol and how baggage can be transferred from the plane onto the train.
Fewer flights to Brussels
At the beginning of this year, KLM replaced one of the five daily flights to Brussels with train journeys with Thalys. This means, for example, that a traveller from Brussels to Hong Kong travels by train to Schiphol and then on by plane. KLM offers a so-called AirRail ticket with growing success. AirRail tickets and connections can be further improved and extended to other destinations such as Düsseldorf. To further improve AirRail, we are committed to shortening travel times, increasing frequency and good solutions for baggage. With this action agenda, further steps are being taken to achieve this.
I&W, Schiphol, ProRail, KLM and NS want the international train to be an attractive alternative, so that travellers can take both the train and the plane or combine a train and air journey when transferring. They are currently focusing on the destinations Brussels, Paris, London, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Berlin.
CEOs on the Action Agenda
Marjan Rintel, NS:
“Nothing is as comfortable as travelling by train, also internationally. Many travellers already know this. To destinations such as Paris, Frankfurt and London, the train is a fully-fledged alternative to the plane. From the heart of Amsterdam to the heart of London in four hours. That saves time and is good for the climate: a full Eurostar equals four flights. The European Green Deal shows that we mean business and with the international train we are putting our money where our mouth is. By now working together with the main aviation partners and the government to make investments, we can create a sustainable mobility sector together. This requires courage, vision and unity from the sector and the government.”
John Voppen, ProRail:
“The need for sustainable mobility continues to grow and it is therefore good to see that the aviation sector is now working together with the rail sector. ProRail will adjust stations where necessary with the Dutch Railways and we are working together with other European rail managers to improve the international timetable. Instead of drawing the national timetables first, it is actually better to start with the international timetable. As a result, the connections of different countries will ultimately connect better and your journey will be shorter.”
Dick Benschop, Schiphol:
“We want to further develop Schiphol into a multimodal hub where train and plane connect the Netherlands internationally. That is why it is necessary that the connections with Germany and London also have a stop at Schiphol.”
Pieter Elbers, KLM:
“KLM has been one of the most sustainable airlines in the world for 16 years, according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, and last year we introduced the Fly Responsibly sustainability initiative. We see flying as a conscious choice for the consumer and the train is a logical, sustainable alternative if you want to travel a short distance. We already sell a combination ticket to about 25 percent of our customers in Belgium. It is important that we can offer our customers a high-quality AirRail product. Together we will improve the train network so that more international trains can stop at Schiphol-Centrum, the frequency of which is a good match with our flight schedule. We will also work on a solution for handling baggage flows so that our passengers can make a comfortable and carefree transfer. With the action agenda, a first promising step has been taken.”
Amstelveen, November 20, 2020