Surprise, the high-speed train is terribly noisy


Picture 10

This story has all the trappings of an ‘I told you so’, but the testing of the high-speed train has “turned the town of Berkel en Rodenrijs [South Holland] upside down” and “makes a huge racket everytime it goes by,” according to my good Dutch friends whose newly built house is about 250 metres from the track (see the streets on the left, near the tracks).

When I visit my mates in Berkel en Rodenrijs, I see this clean and quiet new track just waiting to one day get my derrière from Amsterdam to Paris in three hours instead of five, scheduled to start this December. In May this year when I took the French high-speed train (Thalys) from Amsterdam to Paris, the train still has to wait until Brussels-Midi to finally cruise at 300 km/h instead of the standard 90-140 km, in a train that as the Dutch say, ‘stops at every big tree’.

And now that my dream train trip draws nearer, the initial testing of the train has received 1,600 complaints from the people living between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, including Berkel en Rodenrijs. The actually start of the Dutch train services is secheduled for September 2011, but if these tests are an indication of what’s to come, the Netherlands will have yet another national headache on their hands.

(Links:,, image: Google Maps)


  1. BA says:

    When I was growing up, all that separated my back garden from a railway line was a wooden fence and about two metres. Every so often, heavy trains used to clean the tracks would grunt slowly along the line in the middle of the night. The noise would last for quite a while. Sometimes, the house would shake when trains went past, but you know what? You get used to it after a while, and it ceases to be all that bothersome.

  2. Gert says:

    Unfortunately we have a lot of whiners in Berkel. I live 300 meters from the track, and yes you can hear it, just as you can hear a lorry passing by or an airplane coming overhead on its way to Rotterdam Airport. But it is absolutely not disturbing. A small inconveniance you have to pay for the great conveniance of an airport near by and a fast train connection to Amsterdam, Brussels, paris and (in the near future) London at only 15 minutes distance

  3. Orangemaster says:

    @Gert, I had the same impression when I saw the piece on Eenvandaag yesterday. All of a sudden, the train wasn’t as loud as it had been.

  4. Astrid says:

    I somehow believe that they used different trains in the test period. And Gert, it’s not very nice to say someone with a different hearing is a “whiner”. Besides that, the people who bought a house aren’t only complaining about the noise, but merely about the lies, read the papers and inform yourself. There really is a big difference when they tell you at first 2 trains an hour wil pass and suddenly it’ll be 19 an hour.

    some more info, all in Dutch, sorry… Greetings from your neighbour Astrid.

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