Dutch Railways (NS) has announced that trains from Amsterdam and Rotterdam-London have to close for six months from June 2024 to January 2025.
Passengers will be able to travel from London to both Dutch cities but on the return journey, the trains will run empty and pick up passengers at Brussels.
The reason for this one-way inconvenience is the refurbishment at Centraal Station in Amsterdam. They say there is not enough space at the station to process London-bound passengers due to Post-Brexit procedures for Britons and that’s why passengers travelling from Amsterdam or Rotterdam to London will have to change at Brussels.
Despite several months of negotiations between NS, Eurostar, the Dutch infrastructure provider ProRail and the Dutch government no solution has been found.
An NS statement read:
“Unfortunately, we have had to conclude that despite all efforts, there will be a period in which there will be no direct train to London from Amsterdam. That period is expected to be six months (approximately June 2024–January 2025).
“That is very disappointing because we have worked hard in recent years to make the Eurostar to London an attractive alternative to the plane. It is a particularly difficult puzzle to solve. If there had been a simple solution, all parties would have seized it with both hands. Unfortunately, after various investigations, that simple solution appears not to exist.
“We have jointly chosen to take a step back in the second half of 2024 and not run a Eurostar directly to London for a while.
“The new, large terminal will be ready from January 2025 and we will have the opportunity to allow many more travel;ers to travel directly from Amsterdam to London. In this way we make Eurostar an even more attractive alternative to the plane for many more travellers.”
Gwendoline Cazenave, chief executive of Eurostar Group, said:
“Eurostar has always aimed to find a solution that would have the least possible impact on customers, the environment and its business. We acknowledge that a final decision has been made.
“We are pleased that the discussions have shortened the gap in services between Amsterdam and London from 12 to six months and we continue to work on reducing the inconvenience for passengers, local residents and the economy of Amsterdam and surrounding areas.
“|t is very important that all the parties involved are responsible and supportive of each other to meet the deadlines.
“Our focus must now turn to how we can offer the best experience and journey connections for Eurostar customers in this period. As part of this work, we will still run services directly between London and Amsterdam one way as a minimum.”