Eurostar could be forced to halt Amsterdam trains for years


Just two years into Eurostar’s much raved-about Amsterdam route, the long-distance operator has hit a bump in the tracks.

Planned renovation works at Amsterdam Centraal station, scheduled for 2024, would put the terminal Eurostar uses for passport control and security checks out of action for several years.

The works are set to be carried out by ProRail, the government organisation tasked with extending and maintaining the Netherlands’ rail network.

In a letter to the Netherlands parliament, state secretary of infrastructure Vivianne Heijnen said: “The space is needed for construction work and the situation is very complex.”

Ms Heijnen said there was no available space elsewhere with secure access to the platform, and called the plans “unacceptable”.

In the letter, she called on government organisation Pro Rail to “do everything possible together with NS to solve the problems surrounding Eurostar during the renovation of Amsterdam Centraal.”

Ms Heijnen also emphasised the importance of the UK-Netherlands rail link in easing the amount of less sustainable short-haul flights.

A Eurostar spokesperson said: “We have an agreement with the Dutch railway that allows us to operate from the terminal at Amsterdam Central Station until November 2023.

“After that period, a number of potential options have been defined, but a final decision is yet to be made.

“There is currently no risk that we will stop running this service. It is however, important to have a quick decision on the destination station in Amsterdam to assure continuity on the route.”

ProRail told local media that it hoped to find an alternative Amsterdam location for Eurostar by the end of this year, with the “ambition” being to keep it at Amsterdam Centraal.

The operation could also be moved to Amsterdam South, where ProRail is planning to build a third platform.

“We think Eurostar is extremely important,” said a ProRail spokesperson. “It is an excellent service that is widely used.”

In April it was confirmed that Eurostar will expand its European routes by merging with Belgian operator Thalys, a move that will create a more comprehensive network connecting the UK with Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as more of France on high-speed trains.

The European Commission approved the merger on 26 April, following earlier discussions between the two operators prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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