Our guide to travelling on the single-decked Dutch Intercity trains will tell you all you need to know, from boarding, to making the most of the journey experience.
Accessing the train
Attributes of the train
These single deck (ICM) trains are fundamentally different to the double deck ‘InterCity’ trains used in The Netherlands, hence SMTJ has split them and produced this dedicated travel guide.
Dutch national rail operator NS, uses a generic ‘InterCity’ branding for its express trains that skip stations.
You won’t see ICM on any timetable or station signage - so we have co-opted the technical name ICM - as per Wikipedia’s Dutch trains guide.
‘ICM’ trains are most commonly found on these two routes:
(1) Rotterdam – Gouda – Utrecht – Amersfoort – Zwolle – Groningen/Leeuwarden
(2) Schiphol – Amsterdam Zuid – Amersfoort – Deventer – Enschende
However, they share some other routes with the double deck InterCity trains, particularly on routes that connect both Den Haag and Rottertdam to destinations in the east of The Netherlands
Though it's likely that you won't be on one of these ICM trains, when travelling to/from or via Amsterdam Centraal station.
On some routes (particularly those to/from Den Haag Centraal and Rotterdam Centraal) multiple ICM trains can be joined together for part of the journey.
The trains are then separated (most commonly at Utrecht, Amersfoort or Zwolle), so check on the info screens in each coach - to confirm that you are travelling in the part of the train that is heading to your final destination.
The Dutch take a no-frills, functional approach to their express trains, but as very few journeys take more than a couple of hours, the lack of a wow factor doesn’t matter at all.
Unlike a few other Dutch InterCity trains, these trains don't have Wi-Fi
Journey Info screens
A useful feature on these trains is that there are electronic information panels in the carriages/coaches.
Amongst the information shown are the details of the connecting trains at the stations the train will call at, including the departure times and spoor/platform/track numbers.
On some routes a range of hot and cold drinks as well as snacks will be available from a trolley that will be pushed through the train.
The routes on which these service can be available are shown in this page (though the page is in Dutch, the routes are listed under 'NS Reizigers').
Some areas of the coaches in both 1st and 2nd class are quiet zones in which mobile phones etc can’t be used.
Look for the symbols of a red line through a phone by the doors on the outside of the train and other symbols on the inside of the train.
The platforms at Dutch stations aren’t zoned, so people tend to gather at the entrance points to a platform/spoor, near to the electronic train departure indicators.
So to increase your chances of finding a seat and having a less stressful boarding, move away from the crowds, but don’t go too far.
These single deck InterCity trains can be between 4 and 12 coaches long, but the departure information on the electronic indicators on the platform/spoor doesn’t show how long a train will be.
Whether a coach is 1st or 2nd class is indicated by numbers ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the side of the coaches.
2nd class is open plan, while in 1st class some seats are in compartments and others are open plan.
The doors will not open automatically - the door button on the exterior is some distance from the doors, below the ‘1’ or ‘2’ that indicates whether a coach is 1st or 2nd class.
Exiting the train:
On the interior follow the arrows that indicate which button will open the doors.
NS is the national railway operator in The Netherlands and it doesn’t allow bicycles to travel on any of its trains between 06:30 – 09:00 and 16:00 – 18:30 on Monday-Friday – except during July and August when there are no time restrictions.
Bikes can be taken on board any train at any other time, including weekends, if you purchase a bike pass for €6.90 - this pass known as a ‘Fietskaart Dal’ has a flat rate price, so it doesn’t matter how far you will be travelling.
An unusual feature of travelling with a bike on NS trains is that tandems can also be taken on board.
Bikes can only be placed in the dedicated bike spaces and because they can’t be reserved, there’s no guarantee that room will be available.
Although neither your train ticket, or bike pass, will be restricted to specific departures, so if need be you can simply take the next train – most routes have departures at least every 30 mins
This is one of more than 150 train guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.