About NS and the HSL South

After the V250 was taken out of service in 2013, NS made agreements about alternative types of train for use on the HSL: a mix of high-speed and Intercity trains. There were also agreements to run more trains on the high-speed line with the addition of domestic Intercity trains to and from the main rail network. Finally, NS promised to offer more foreign destinations via the HSL South (Lille and shortly London) and to substantially increase the frequency of Thalys.

In 2013, NS started an Intercity direct service from Amsterdam to Breda and we recommenced the Benelux link one year later. This is the Intercity Brussels, which is again running once an hour between Amsterdam and Brussels without a surcharge or mandatory reservation, via Schiphol, The Hague, Rotterdam and elsewhere. Thalys went up from 8 to 14 trains a day and the French city of Lille was added as a destination twice daily. The Intercity between The Hague and Eindhoven was introduced in April 2017. This train runs partly on the HSL South and passengers have a journey that is 11 minutes shorter over the whole route.

Trains per day

Intercity direct on the HSL South provides 70 trains a day between Amsterdam and Breda. There are 62 trains between Amsterdam and Rotterdam: one every fifteen minutes between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, of which two an hour continue to/from Breda. In addition, Thalys runs 14 trains a day from Amsterdam to Brussels, 10 of them daily continuing through to Paris and 2 a day going to Lille. Along with the train service between The Hague and Eindhoven, this means that NS runs a total of 233 trains a day on the HSL South.

Trains run per day on the HSL South



Intercity direct








Intercity The Hague-Eindhoven











Trains run per day on the HSL South

From April 2018

Intercity Brussels




That number will increase over the coming years. Eurostar is starting a direct train link from 4 April 2018 from London to Amsterdam. There will still be a changeover at Brussels Midi when travelling to Britain until passport facilities are arranged at the Dutch departure stations. NMBS and NS are busy with the preparations and test runs of the Intercity Brussels on the high-speed line, aiming to start this train service as of 9 April 2018. This train will run 16 times a day, as it does now: The departure and destination station will be Amsterdam Centraal for 12 of those trains, with 4 trains going to and from Den Haag HS.

Complexity of HSL South

The HSL South is complex. The combination of infrastructure, safety, rolling stock and timetable is unique. Various types of trains run at high frequencies on the HSL. The HSL line consists of both newly laid and conventional track. Trains that run on the HSL, such as the route from The Hague to Eindhoven, Intercity direct and soon Intercity Brussels and Eurostar, therefore have to handle multiple transitions between systems en route for both the power supply and the safety system. This all makes it very vulnerable to faults, and faults can rapidly have major consequences for passengers.