Expat Essentials

Maintenance in Netherlands, security in Paris, Brussels cause August train delays (updated)


(Editor’s note: This post was updated on 6 August 2017 with additional information.)

Ah, it’s August, and train delays are the norm across Europe for many reasons including scheduled maintenance.

If you’re an expat living in the Netherlands – and Eindhoven in particular – you really need to read this because there’s going to be a period when it’s going to be difficult for you to get a train to Amsterdam. Period.

And of course, if you’re flying into Schiphol Airport thinking you’re going to take the train to Eindhoven, well … maybe not.

Our daughter Lucy went to Amsterdam this weekend and she’s stuck there until who knows when. (Shockingly, she’s not upset at all because if you’re going to be stuck somewhere, Amsterdam gets her highest rating.)

From now until Sunday, 13 August, scheduled repair work leaves Eindhoven pretty well cut off from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam and other points north.

If you live in Eindhoven, get ready to ride the bus to the train. If you need to fly out of Schiphol from Eindhoven, expect to take a bus (provided by NS, the Dutch train service) from Eindhoven to Tilburg because of construction between the two cities. Our friends are telling us there are long lines to get on a bus.

Adding to the problem is a serious, serious shortage of bus drivers, so we’re checking into that. But our sources say lines were literally out the doors of the train stations in Eindhoven and Tilburg and into the parking lots and surrounding streets and pedestrian areas as people waited for buses to continue their trips.

There’s also construction between Tilburg and ‘s-Hertogenbosch just north of Eindhoven.

NS has a “current situation” page on its website dedicated to delay updates, which show problems through 27 August.

This being the Netherlands, the NS is set up to give refunds for international trains, which you can apply for here.

UPDATE: Lucy made it home, but reports the situation in Eindhoven and the region is “extreme.” While the situation is stable in Boxtel, when it comes to Eindhoven, there are still way to many people waiting and not enough buses. “So there was a huge line,” she said. To get home, she took a bus to Bijlmer Arena NS station in Amsterdam. From there, she took a train to Boxtel, got off and took a bus to Eindhoven. Then, she took a bus to our village … and her bike the rest of the way home.  All the trains and buses were packed, with people standing. Total time for the 130 kilometers from Amsterdam to our village of Leenderstrijp: 3 hours!

Here are other delays or notifications from around Europe:

Paris: Security is ramped up in Paris. If you’re traveling from Paris Gare du Nord, Thalys recommends getting to the platform 20 minutes before your train leaves to make it through security checks.

TechCrunch has a good post about Trainline’s real-time information app for France courtesy of an API from SNCF, the national train system.

• Brussels: There is increased security at Brussels-Airport, Brussels-South (midi), Antwerp-Central and Liège-Guillemins, so it’s wise to get to your track early there.

• Now through 13 August, there will be work on weekends at the Netherlands/Belgium border at Roosendaal. The Amsterdam – Antwerp route will be affected. More information on this can be found on the track page. In some cases, you’ll have to take other trains, or buses.

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Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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