Recommendations from Dutch Safety Board ignored

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Infrastructure Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Netherlands Railways NS and rail network operator Prorail allegedly ignore safety recommendations from the Dutch Safety Board.

This is the conclusion Dutch daily de Volkskrant drew after a series of conversations with all parties involved. The Safety Board published a report early last year about trains running red lights, but the situation has not yet improved.

NS and Prorail argue they are waiting for the introduction of a new European safety system which is to be introduced soon, but it is not clear when which sections of the Dutch railway network will be controlled by the new European Railway Traffic Management System.

The Board has therefore demanded “joint, effective action”. It also recommends one party, Prorail, be made fully responsible for network safety. The main recommendations contained in the Safety Board’s 2011 report were to be implemented within a year, but so far no action has been taken on any of them.

Prorail states that all parties are still jointly responsible for rail safety policies and no inventory has been drawn up of the sections where ERTMS is to be introduced, or when this will happen.

Parliament is meanwhile conducting its own investigation into the situation. The Kuijken Commission is scheduled to publish its report next month. De Volkskrant writes that it is clear from the Commission’s hearings that coordination between the parties responsible for rail safety is still problematic.

The paper writes that Prorail has announced it will install the ERTMS infrastructure equipment on the new Hanze line connecting Lelystad to Zwolle - which is to be completed at the end of 2012 - but NS will not install the system’s on-board equipment on its trains.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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