Railway problems ‘will continue until at least 8pm’, chaos at Schiphol airport

Passengers stranded at Utrecht railway station. Photo: Jeroen Jumelet ANP

The technical problems which have crippled the NS railway network will last until at least 8pm, the rail company said late on Sunday afternoon, after missing an earlier deadline.

The problems have led to long waits for buses and taxis at railway stations nationwide and chaos at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, where the traffic jam to drop off passengers stretched for over three kilometres.

Hundreds of international travellers have been stranded at Amsterdam’s central station with no idea how to either reach the airport or continue on their train journey, local broadcaster NH Nieuws said. The airport itself is recommending passengers ‘find an alternative’.

Buses services too are overcrowded, with Arriva reporting that it was being forced to miss stops because its buses are too full.

A spokesman for the NS said that buses had not been used to replace the trains because there are not enough for the entire country. ‘A bus takes 50 people, the average intercity train 1,000,’ the spokesman said.

The technical problem centres on the system which monitors train arrivals and makes sure staff are available in case of delays. Any disruption means that the safety of passengers cannot be guaranteed, the spokesman said.

Regional train services operated by other providers are not affected by the stoppage.

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