December 15, 2009

Dutch high-speed train still has problems

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:48 am
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Very few people understand why a resourceful country like the Netherlands is so bad with large infrastructure projects like the high-speed train, never mind the eyesore that is Amsterdam’s North-South metro line started in 2003 and maybe finished by 2017. I’m embarrassed that we seem so backwards at times: “The Netherlands is one of the last countries in north-western and southern Europe where trains do not run at speeds above 200 km/h”. You’d think, small country, less track, vroom vroom, but nope, not yet. “The first full speed Thalys on Sunday was halted again at the Belgian border and arrived in Antwerp 30 minutes late.” It’s like driving a sports car at 120 km when you could be zooming down the German autobahn at 240 km.

The high-speed train is going to cost more, it will try and run at full speed sometime in the summer next year (more than 2 years off schedule), it’s not lucrative (people take other forms of transportation) and… drum roll please… it’s still too loud when it goes along the area of Lansingerland at my friends’ house. The sound constantly changes pitch and is not regular enough to be ignored like the other trains.

All I want to be able to do is go to Paris from Amsterdam in 3 hours because I know it can be done. I want to zoom at 300 km/h, which is incredibly cool, and not feel guilty zooming by my friends’ house.


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September 10, 2009

Surprise, the high-speed train is terribly noisy

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:16 pm
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)

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