Train services return to normal
7 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Train services in and around Utrecht were reported to be returning to normal on Thursday afternoon after a morning of chaos caused by a glitch in the computerised signalling system. Passengers were unable to travel to and from this vital junction in the Dutch rail network during the morning peak-hour period.
7 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Train services in and around Utrecht were reported to be returning to normal on Thursday afternoon after a morning of chaos caused by a glitch in the computerised signalling system.
Passengers were unable to travel to and from this vital junction in the Dutch rail network during the morning peak-hour period.
Rail operator NS announced by 3pm that services through the vital Utrecht junction were running according to the roster, thanks to a back-up system.
Travel from Utrecht to Geldermalsen, Eindhoven and to Hilversum was still limited on Thursday afternoon, with two instead of the usual four trains per hour operating.
In the morning, Dutch rail NS said the system that runs signals and track switching was offline and train passengers should avoid Utrecht altogether. The knock-on impact was felt across the rail network.
Transport Minister Karla Peijs described Thursday's problem was an "incident" rather than a structural problem within the rail network authority ProRail.
At about 8am, NS said several local trains (stoptreinen) were operating thanks to a back-up signalling system.
But NS cautioned that it would take "a considerable number of hours" before the train timetable was back on track. Train travel is said to be barely possible between Utrecht and Arnhem and to and from Den Bosch, Amersfoort, Gouda and Breukelen.
Bringing in buses to ferry stranded passengers to their destination would not have been possible in the short term. "Hundreds [of buses] would be needed and no company can provide so many," an NS spokesperson said.
NS has to issue a warning several times a year to passengers not to depend on the train.
The problems began on Wednesday evening when a computer fault disrupted train travel for 90 minutes. Repair teams worked on the problem during the night and the issue appeared to be under control. However, the system crashed again on Thursday morning.
The NS spokesperson said the signalling glitch effectively "blinded" trains. "We had to lead them train by train. This meant walking pace from signal to signal," he said.
NS staff also had to deal with the breakdown of a goods train in the Velsertunnel, blocking train travel to and from Haarlem and Beverwijk. The blockage was cleared after a short time.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject; Dutch news