The new Intercity trains being used by national railway NS began running test drives with passengers between The Hague and Eindhoven on Monday. The so-called Intercity New Generation (ICNG) stops en route at The Hague Holland Spoor, Delft, Rotterdam Central, Breda and Tilburg stations, and partly runs on the high-speed line. The new train has been tested between Amsterdam Central and Rotterdam Central since mid-April.
According to the NS, the two tested Intercity trains have already traveled more than 100,000 kilometers on that route. “That gives confidence for this next step. The Hague-Eindhoven is the second route where ICNG is running test drives, so we are gaining experience as early as possible,” says program manager Maarten Bakker.
The new Intercity trains can run faster on the high-speed line than the current trains on that route, and have extra luggage space, large doors with level entry and more legroom. Travelers can also use sockets and USB ports in both first and second class.
The ICNG has been sent to the rail yard workshop a few times in the past for examination or adjustments. At the beginning of June, for example, it turned out that the inner doors of the train no longer opened automatically if they were blocked a certain number of times, like when passengers tried to open a door that had already been closed. A spokesperson for the NS says that the problem has now been solved with a software adjustment.
NS has invested more than 1 billion euros in the 99 new Intercity trains. They were supposed to start driving for the first time last year, but the start was delayed due to delivery problems during the coronavirus pandemic.
If all goes well, the NS hopes to have the new train quickly operational on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam route before the end of the year as part of the official timetable, with the test drive period completed, says a spokesperson.
Reporting by ANP