HSL service


The risk that the improvements made in 2017 will not be sufficient to deliver the agreed performance for the HSL. The agreement with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management about the performance on the HSL comprises operational performance as well as the introduction of new products. If performance is not in accordance with the agreement, the HSL will be put out to tender again and/or this will be ‘threatened’, which will damage the reputation of NS.


The agreements made between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and NS about performance on the HSL are highly ambitious, taking into account the complexity and limitations of the infrastructure. We see that performance on the HSL improved at the end of 2017 (despite the fact that stranded trains and cancellations still occur). Despite the improvements made, performance (KPIs) on the HSL remains variable and systematically below the performance on the main rail network. The switch of the IC Brussels service to the HSL has been postponed to 2018. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has announced an additional investment package of €60 million for medium-term measures. The possible measures are currently being worked out by NS and ProRail, and discussed with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. As well as technical problems in the rolling stock, the complex relationships with other transport sector partners and external circumstances have a considerable effect on operational performance on the HSL. The introduction of the IC Brussels combined with the current instability of performance on the HSL will put considerable pressure on the ability to achieve the KPI of 5-minute punctuality for passengers on the HSL in 2018.


Both NS and ProRail are doing all they can to ensure that the introductions planned for 2018 will take place in a controlled way, in part by running through a test and validation programme and a controlled and phased introduction process. In addition, the improvement teams are remaining active to make sure that performance will be as good and stable as possible and to take any additional measures that may be required.

Risk control trend

The introduction of the Eurostar and the IC Brussels on the HSL are planned for 2018. The timely availability and admission of suitable rolling stock pose a risk to both train services, as does the execution of sufficiently intensive practices and testing. Agreements with third parties must also be formulated to make sure that the IC Brussels and Eurostar direct train services to London are actually started. This assumes a systematic introduction in the spring of 2018. The introduction of the IC Brussels also adds complexity to the timetable. Problems during the introduction of the new product stages could impact other existing HSL services such as the IC direct and Thalys.

Residual risk

High. The current risk profile does not yet match the desired risk profile.