NS invests in the purchase, overhaul and upgrading of trains. Proven technology, sustainability and convenience for passengers have the highest priority.
New generation of double-decker trains
In December 2022, NS and Spanish train manufacturer CAF signed a contract for the supply of 60 new trains. The trains concerned are a combination of single-decker and double-decker coaches. Offering both high capacity and high accessibility, these trains are suitable for speeds of up to 160 km/h. The basic order comprises 30 train sets of 4 coaches each, and 30 train sets of 6 coaches each, with a total capacity of over 30,000 seats. In addition, NS has the option to further increase the number of trains in future. The new trains will replace older models such as the DDZ and will met the need for higher-capacity trains. The first new trains are expected to become operational in 2028.
New Generation Intercity
NS Proefbedrijf launched the New Generation Intercity (ICNG) in 2022. Before incorporating these new Intercity trains into our timetable in phases, we subject them to trial runs covering many kilometres to test their reliability and functionality. The trial also involves training for the first groups of guards, train managers, mechanics and drivers.
COVID-19 and supply issues due to the war in Ukraine had a significant impact on the development and realisation of the ICNG. This also caused admissions and training programmes to start later. In addition, findings from the testing programme showed that software updates were necessary. All of this meant that our ambition in 2021 to allow the first passengers to board in December 2022 had become infeasible. NS still expects to be able to realise the full roll-out of the ICNG on the high-speed link between Amsterdam and Breda in 2023. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) officially approved the ICNG for use in the Dutch railway network at the end of December 2022. In that same year, admission testing with ICNG Belgium was completed and requests for admission were submitted in the Netherlands and in Belgium.
In early 2023, CAF supplied the last batch from a total of 206 new Sprinter trains. This was slightly later than scheduled, due to a delay in the supply of a number of bogies. The new Sprinters are energy-efficient and ensure a comfortable journey for passengers featuring a transparent, open and attractive design, WiFi, wheelchair-accessible toilets, wall sockets, USB connection ports, sustainable leather upholstered seats, sections designated for bicycles and a floor-level entrance.
New call for tenders for Sprinter trains
In 2022, NS launched a European call for tenders for the purchase of Sprinter trains. NS needs the new trains to accommodate the expected growth in passenger numbers and prevent a shortage of rolling stock in future. NS is looking for a comfortable and easily accessible train that can be used as a Sprinter: fast acceleration and deceleration, and suitable for speeds of up to 160 km/h. We are also examining options to use the new Sprinters as Intercity trains on a limited number of routes. This will help us to create flexibility in the way we deploy our rolling stock, which will also reduce purchasing costs. We expect to be able to welcome the first passengers in our new Sprinter trains from the end of 2027.
Upgrading Intercity trains
After upgrading 80 double-decker train sets (VIRMm1, comprising 415 coaches), in 2021 we launched a project to upgrade 44 double-decker trains of the VIRM2/3 model. This involves 242 coaches with a total of 24,500 seats. By the end of 2022, we had upgraded 24 train sets comprising 116 coaches. From 2026, all 51 VIRM4 double-deck train sets will be upgraded.