Freeze delays trains, planes and automobiles

4th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Amid severe freezing temperatures, motorists were having trouble starting their cars on Friday and air passengers were facing long delays at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

4 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — Amid severe freezing temperatures, motorists were having trouble starting their cars on Friday and air passengers were facing long delays at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Dutch motorists association ANWB was kept busy responding to calls for assistance on Friday morning about cars that wouldn't start, as well as frozen locks and doors. ANWB said the number of reported problems is about double the normal amount.

Road assistance services said 1,600 calls were placed by stranded motorists between midnight and 8am on Friday. "Normally speaking, it's about 700," a spokesman told news agency ANP.

The spokesman also expected the number of problems to increase throughout the morning as more and more people use their vehicles.

Most problems were reported in the north of the country and the North East Polder, where a record March temperature of minus 20.7 degrees was reported in the village of Marknesse.

Elsewhere, temperatures of minis 10 to 15 degrees were being reported, in a week that saw the heaviest snowfalls in the Netherlands for half a century.

Consequently, at about 8.30am on Friday, stranded motorists were being forced to wait 30 to 45 minutes for road assistance due to the pressure being placed on the ANWB.

Dutch rail operator NS said delays should be expected because it was using fewer trains than normal on Friday. The trains that are operating are running well, but rail traffic ground to a standstill between Delft and Rijswijk due to a broken overhead cable.
 
The freezing temperatures have contributed to train glitches and problems with connecting and disconnecting train carriages, prompting NS on Thursday night to use fewer trains on Friday. It is hoped the plan will lead to reduced congestion in the event of problems.

The measure applies primarily to the west and centre of the country and commuters have been warned to expect delays and a higher number of stopovers. The NS will decide later on Friday if it can deploy more trains.

Rail network authority ProRail said it was not having difficulties with frozen track change mechanisms. But it has dispatched maintenance teams across the nation to solve any possible problems, with workers equipped with gas burners to defrost frozen parts if necessary.

Due top the heavy early morning mist, only one runway was operating at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam for incoming and departing flights. This was leading to long delays, on top of the problems reported by flight cancellations earlier in the week.

The airport said delays are expected to continue for much of the day, with just 30 planes being allowed to take-off or land per hour. More snow is also expected in the course of Friday, contributing to further delays.

Several hundred passengers spent the night on camp beds at the airport on Thursday night. That was significantly lower than the 3,000 to 4,000 passengers forced to camp the night at Schiphol on Wednesday.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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