High-speed rail in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is connected to the European high-speed rail network with one dedicated high-speed line, HSL-Zuid, and improved traditional rail. Plans for a second and third dedicated high-speed line, HSL-Oost and Zuiderzeelijn, have been cancelled.

Three high-speed train services are operated in the Netherlands: Thalys, InterCityExpress (ICE), and Eurostar, although a fourth one (Fyra, which has been withdrawn) has operated there. Thalys started operating on the HSL-Zuid on 13 December 2009.



HSL-Zuid (Dutch: Hogesnelheidslijn Zuid, English: High-Speed Line South) is a 125 km (78 mi) high-speed railway line in the Netherlands. Using existing tracks from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport, the dedicated high-speed line begins here and continues to Rotterdam Centraal and to the Belgian border. Here, it connects to the HSL 4, terminating at Antwerpen-Centraal. Den Haag Centraal (The Hague) and Breda are connected to the high-speed line by conventional railway lines. Services running at 160 km/h (100 mph) on the HSL-Zuid began on 7 September 2009 between Amsterdam and Rotterdam. From December 2009, Thalys trains from Amsterdam to Brussels and Paris have run on HSL-Zuid. From December 2012 to January 2013 (40 days in total) the Fyra V250 trains ran on HSL-Zuid between Amsterdam and Brussels, only to have service suspended because of the poor quality (and safety risks) of the Italian-made trains (reference needed).

Line Route Speed Length Construction began Start of revenue services
HSL-Zuid Schiphol - Antwerpen 300 km/h (186 mph) 147 km (91 mi) (125 km (78 mi) in the Netherlands) 2000 2009


The HSL-Zuid serves the following stations:

Between Rotterdam and the Belgian border there is a branch to Breda (from 04-04-2011).


Hanzelijn (English: Hanseatic line) is a 50 km (31 mi) high-speed railway line in the Netherlands. It connects Lelystad, capital of the province of Flevoland, with Zwolle, capital of the neighbouring province of Overijssel, and provides a direct rail link between Flevoland and the north-east of the Netherlands. The maximum speed on the line is 200 km/h (124 mph), though no Dutch domestic rolling stock can achieve speeds greater than 160 km/h (99 mph). Only by clearing the line for International trains is the line speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) reached.

Line Route Speed Length Construction began Start of revenue services
Hanzelijn Lelystad - Zwolle 200 km/h (124 mph) 50 km (31 mi) 2007 2012


HSL-Oost (Dutch: Hogesnelheidslijn-Oost, English: High-Speed Line East) is the name of a proposed high-speed line from Amsterdam into Germany via the Dutch cities of Utrecht and Arnhem. The scope of the project has now been reduced, but it is expected that German ICE trains will be able to travel at 200 km/h (124 mph) from Amsterdam to Utrecht in the near future. Currently, ERTMS has been installed on the line, but the soil is soft and needs time to stabilize after the recent expansion works. In 2009, a new feasibility study for the HSL-Oost after the year 2020 was promised by Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management Camiel Eurlings.

Other lines

According to the ProRail 2030 plan, several mainlines will be upgraded. To decrease journey time, some sections are likley to become operated at 160 km/h or 200 km/h. Still it's uncertain, if the whole line between Amsterdam and Groningen will be upgraded or few stretches of it. By the end of 2020 or 2021 the decision of selecting routes to be upgraded is to be made. Some of mainlines, capable for 140 km/h can be upgraded to 160 km/h after re-signalling and even for 200 km/h after four-tracking and changing electrification from DC to AC.

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