If you will be taking a journey by Intercity Direct train in The Netherlands this guide will tell you the key things worth knowing.
Accessing the train
Attributes of the train
Which country these trains operate in.
Dutch national rail operator NS uses the ‘InterCity Direct’ branding for its train services, that share the high speed line between Amsterdam and south Netherlands via Rotterdam, with Thalys trains.
It’s not possible to travel between Amsterdam and Rotterdam on the Thalys trains -so these trains are the fastest option for train travel between the two largest cities in The Netherlands.
However, despite these trains using the high speed line, they don’t travel at high speed - but the Thalys trains that do, are only 8 mins faster!
What gives these InterCity Direct trains the advantage over other NS InterCity trains between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, is that the high speed line is a direct route - so these trains complete the journey between the two cities in only 41 minutes.
In contrast the fastest alternative InterCity trains - which travel on the non-high speed route via Delft and Leiden also call at more stations - so have a journey time between Amsterdam and Rotterdam of around 1hr 13mins.
(1) Amsterdam Centraal - Schiphol - Rotterdam Centraal - Breda (3 x trains per hour*)
*One of these trains is now the international InterCity Brussels service which has its journey extended beyond Breda to/from Belgium.
(2) Amsterdam Centraal - Schiphol - Rotterdam Centraal (1 x train per hour) - so there are 4 x of these trains per hour between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but one departure per hour doesn't travel beyond Rotterdam.
(3) Den Haag Centraal - Den Haag HS - Delft - Rotterdam - Breda - Tilburg - Eindhoven (2 x trains per hour)
The trains on this route use the high speed line between Rotterdam and Breda.
The time saving of 32 mins when travelling between Amsterdam and Rotterdam by these InterCity Direct comes at a price!
A supplement of €2.40 is now charged in both 1st and 2nd class for journeys by these trains which involve travelling between Schiphol and Rotterdam - so this extra charge applies to these journeys:
When buying a ticket for a journey by these trains, the best option is to buy an ordinary ticket for the journey.
You then have to pay for the supplement on the red 'supplement' pole which you will find on the platforms/tracks (spors) which these trains use.
The reason for using this method is, if you don't travel in business hours, the price charged by these supplement machines will be reduced by €1.
If you will be travelling with a Chipkart, you need tap it against these poles (machines) prior to boarding.
When the journey supplement doesn't apply
However, you don’t have to pay the supplement at all if you have a multi-country rail pass.
You also don’t need to pay the supplement if you have an international ticket such as a Bruxelles – Amsterdam ticket.
The supplement also does NOT have to be paid at ANY TIME for journeys:
What can surprise is that, for the time being, the coaches that are used on these trains are a tad ordinary.
Older trains had to be rushed into service when NS abruptly abandoned the unreliable trains that were ordered for these services.
However, these current trains were a stop-gap and the new trains which will ultimately replace them, have begun to enter service.
As a result these trains don't have Wi-fi [- and catering isn't available either
Seat reservations also aren't an option, but seats are nearly always available.
So these are comparatively basic trains, but they are time savers!
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
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