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Nederlandse Spoorwegen

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) is the main public transport railroad company of the Netherlands. It uses the tracks and other railway network infrastructure supplied by ProRail.

It is fully owned by the Dutch state. There are plans for a share issue to the public in future.

There is a common tariff system with the other four public transport railroad companies in the country.

Divisions of NS:

  • NS Reizigers (NSR) (NS Travellers, responsible for the train traffic and employing train drivers[?] and conductors)
  • NS Stations (exploitation of train stations, including supplying space for the many little shops and kiosks)
  • NedTrain (trains)
  • NS Vastgoed (owns 48 km² of land, often near stations, and develops and exploits these areas as public traffic nodes, offices and apartments)
  • NS Commercie (marketing, sales and customer service)
  • NS Internationaal (exploitation, together with NSR and foreign partners, of international trains such as the Thalys, the ICE, the night train to Paris in summer, and charter trains)
  • Nedkoleje, in a joint venture with Polish Railways (PKP), operates trains in West Pomeranian Voivodship (Zachodniopomorskie), Poland.
  • NedRailways, in a joint-venture with Serco, which has won a concession for 25 years for Merseyrail in and around Liverpool, UK.

Towards the general public these distinctions are not made and the terms Nederlandse Spoorwegen and NS are used.

NS has contracts with Connexxion and BBA for bus services replacing train services in the case of planned and unplanned cancellations.

There is a delay refund scheme entitling passengers a partial or full refund of the ticket price if a journey is delayed half an hour or more, except for journeys that are short in terms of distance, and except in the case of planned cancellations that were announced some days in advance. The refund is based on the idea that one should not have to pay much for a bad service, rather than on the idea that it is a compensation for lost time. The cost for NS of this scheme is kept manageable by not streamlining the claim procedure too much for the passengers: many do not claim because it is perceived as cumbersome. Part of the cost of the scheme is paid by ProRail, since they are responsible for part of the delays.

NS has announced that tobacco smoking will be forbidden on more and more trains in the second half of 2003, and on all trains from 2004. This gradual process is because it takes time to remove ashtrays or weld them shut, and to put no-smoking signs. Also new carriages are no-smoking.

Smoking cannabis is already forbidden, though it happens occasionally and perhaps is not as severely punished as in some other countries.

The sale of coffee, soft drinks, beer, sandwiches, candy, etc. in domestic trains will be discontinued from June 2003. An increasing number of convenience stores on train stations have lowered the demand for on-train services.

See also Transportation in the Netherlands, Trains in the Netherlands.

External link: http://www.ns.nl/

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