All overnight trains cancelled near Amsterdam; Schedule should resume Saturday morning

Update, 9 June 2023 at 20:00: Although some apps, such as Google Maps, have reportedly shown many train cancellations beginning on Friday afternoon and evening before midnight, a spokesperson for the NS reiterated that the work will still begin at midnight at the start of Saturday. She recommended that passengers use the NS online travel planner for the latest information about train status.

The announced cancellations of all overnight trains in Amsterdam is not expected to continue past 5 a.m. on Saturday, a spokesperson for railroad infrastructure firm ProRail told NL Times. Most trains will not be able to operate in the Amsterdam region from the moment Friday comes to an end at midnight due to an urgent maintenance operation.

An equipment failure on June 4 caused the software responsible for operating signals and switch points to go offline. The issue exposed a vulnerability, as the system is supposed to be fully redundant. The hardware that failed also did not give a warning that it was not operating properly, which caused the redundant system to also fail.

Rail traffic went down in Amsterdam on that Sunday as a result, and trains slowly started running the following Monday from 9 a.m. All services were restored a few hours later. While ProRail worked to uncover the issue, they transferred all traffic control services from the Amsterdam station to a different facility in Utrecht. The piece of hardware was replaced, and the system was tested extensively on Wednesday and Thursday.

ProRail said that it is confident the situation has been resolved, and that the time is right to move personnel and any necessary equipment from Utrecht back to Amsterdam. Systems will go offline in Utrecht, and will be brought back online in Amsterdam, the spokesperson told NL Times. This process will begin at 1 a.m. on Saturday, and most trains will not run in the Amsterdam area beginning an hour earlier as a precaution.

The expectation is that the move will take no more than four hours, impacting only the overnight passenger train schedule and ongoing freight trains. ProRail said that the goal was for the Dutch national railway, NS, to be able to operate its regular morning timetable, which begins at 5 a.m.

To be on the safe side, passengers should check the online trip planner from the NS before going to a train station, the ProRail spokesperson said. This includes passengers who want to travel by train after 5 a.m. in case complications arise.

During the overnight period, the NS runs direct trains between Amsterdam Central Station and destinations in Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Flevoland, Utrecht and Gelderland. This includes Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, as well as Almere, Nijmegen, and several destinations in Noord-Holland, including Schiphol Airport.

In a statement, ProRail said it was carrying out the operation overnight in the hope of minimizing disruptions to train traffic.

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