The risk that, due to numerous major interruptions to the service, lagging investment and political pressure on ProRail, there will be a shortage of rail infrastructure capacity and a deterioration in the quality, so that NS cannot achieve its growth goals and operational improvements to the extent it would like.
In implementing its scheduled service, NS is dependent on having a sufficiently reliable rail infrastructure. More investment is needed to keep the infrastructure reliable and expand it. Withdrawals from service are needed to enable work to be done on the track. There were numerous planned withdrawals from service in 2018, resulting in less capacity temporarily. This will also be the case in the next few years. There are a number of factors that are putting additional pressure on the infrastructure capacity and infrastructure quality, both now and in the future. The number of passenger-kilometres will increase further and NS has ambitious growth plans. Safety and environmental requirements are increasing, including those for shunting yards, while the influx of new trains is increasing the demand for shunting capacity. Maintenance has been postponed in recent years, which is increasing the risk of unexpected disruptions and more withdrawals from service, in part to carry out the postponed maintenance.
NS has drawn up a comprehensive asset plan in which the timetable design is combined with the rolling stock, staff and infrastructure, looking at both the short term and the long term. This lets us and ProRail manage the infrastructure requirements in a more integrated manner in the longer term. A regular process is used to align the NS product additions and the necessary developments in the infrastructure at ProRail. Based on NS's rolling stock fleet planning, various future scenarios are developed and assessed, after which they are shared proactively with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and ProRail. NS is also collaborating with ProRail to make sure the Randstad conurbation remains accessible during work on the track. One example of this is the joint programme control aimed at minimising disruption to customers in the Amsterdam Diamond (the area between Schiphol, Amsterdam Zuid, Amsterdam Centraal and Weesp).
Risk control trend
The level of risk management remained the same in 2018. The fact that investment is lagging behind the growth in passenger-kilometres, the increasingly strict safety and environmental requirements and the planned withdrawals from service are leading and will continue to lead to problems with the infrastructure. This can have an adverse effect on the train services and the achievement of our goals.