NS invests in the purchase, overhaul and upgrading of trains. Proven technology, sustainability and convenience for passengers have the highest priority. The SGM model Sprinter trains were decommissioned in 2021, while DDZ trains returned following completion of a study into vibrations on the tracks.
New and upgraded rolling stock
New generation of double-decker trains
In 2020, NS launched a European tendering procedure for a new generation of double-decker trains with improved accessibility and suitable for speeds of up to 160 km/h. NS is interested in a train type that includes both single and double-decker carriages and is able to combine high capacity with excellent accessibility. NS received the bids of several suppliers by the end of 2021. According to current insights, the first trains of this type will be taken into operation in 2027.
They are meant to replace older trains, such as the double-decker trains of the DDZ model, and to meet the need for double-decker trains in the longer term. The basic order is for around 30,000 seats, with options for additional orders.
New Generation Intercity (ICNG)
Serial production of this new Intercity train is in progress and all tests required for admission of ICNG trains to the Dutch railway system were completed in 2021. The first trains for NS Proefbedrijf and training programmes have arrived in the Netherlands and the application for a permit to operate these trains has been submitted.
However, the worldwide impact of COVID-19 has also strongly affected the development and realisation of the New Generation Intercity. Anti-COVID-19 measures, travel restrictions, sickness absence, delays in the supply of software and parts are obstructing progress. This has also caused admissions and training programmes to start later. As a result, operational implementation of ICNG trains for passenger service proved to be infeasible in 2021. NS now expects the first passengers to be able to board in 2022, on the IC direct route between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Breda.
In addition to the trains already ordered for domestic use, the ICNG contract with Alstom gives NS the possibility to order Intercity trains that are suitable for cross-border routes. For example, NS has already ordered ICNGs that can be used both in the Netherlands and on routes across the border into Belgium.
Upgrading Intercity trains
NS upgraded a total of 80 double-decker train sets (VIRMm1) with 415 carriages in a project that was completed in 2020. In 2021, the Haarlem workshop began upgrading 44 double-decker trains of the VIRM2/3 type. This involves 242 carriages with a total of 24,500 seats. Again, this upgrading operation is based on sustainable principles, involving the recycling or reuse of 99% of the materials of the trains. The trains are fitted with a new climate control system, USB ports in first and second class and receive a new look. The first upgraded trains from this series have been in operation since June 2021. In 2021, we decided to also upgrade the VIRM4 series in mid-2025.
New Sprinter trains
Since late 2021, 170 SNG Sprinter trains from Spanish train manufacturer CAF have been in operation in the Dutch railway system. CAF is expected to deliver all the remaining new Sprinter trains in 2022. These new Sprinters have everything it takes to ensure a pleasant and comfortable journey. They are transparent, open, attractive and energy-efficient, featuring Wi-Fi, wheelchair-accessible toilets, wall sockets, USB connections, leather seats, areas designated for bicycles and a floor-level entrance.