The top-priority risks of introducing ERTMS are that the introduction will lead to poorer operational performance or even unacceptable inconvenience to customers and preventing NS trains from running according to the timetable. Replacing the train safety system on the Dutch railways is a major programme, which will affect the performance of NS. That may mean ‘normal’ inconvenience to customers, but unacceptably severe inconvenience for passengers is also a possibility.


The ERTMS programme is very complex, as it comprises technical, operational and organisational elements. The implementation of ERTMS in collaboration with the sector (ProRail, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, etc.) is still under development. The implementation of ERTMS on the Dutch railways affects both carriers and the infrastructure operator, and concerns both technical modernisations and operational and organisational changes. Both the infrastructure and the trains have to be modified to make sure that ERTMS can be implemented. The current ATC train safety system will remain in use during the rollout until all track sections have been equipped for ERTMS. In the next few years, ERTMS will continue to develop as a European train safety system. The comprehensive character of the changes in combination with the question whether sufficient workable fallbacks can be set up, increases the risk.


NS is making careful preparations for the introduction of ERTMS. To mitigate the risk of a dip in the regular performance, this will be communicated to stakeholders at the time when it is likely to happen, which will be when the first track section is brought into use in around 2025. The migration steps and the testing strategy for the transition to ERTMS are being chosen carefully and a fallback plan is being drawn up. This will all be agreed with the government (the franchise authority and client for the programme), ProRail and other carriers.

Risk control trend

The Dutch Parliament’s expectations of ERTMS are high. The risks of the introduction of this entirely new system are being mapped further and analysed.

Residual risk

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