Netherlands - Lines with Obscure or Sparse passenger services

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This list is based on the timetable timetable valid from 13 December 2020, unless otherwise shown. Standard abbreviations are explained here.

Map references for each route entry are given in parentheses ( ). References prefixed "ERA-E" refer to the European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball. References prefixed "ERA-R" refer to the European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - France and Benelux) by M.G. Ball.

Obscure services

Diemen Zuid (Venserpolder aansluiting) — Halte ArenA — Bijlmer (Duivendrecht aansluiting)

(ERA-E 34A3; ERA-R 55B4) NL21/1

There are separate east-to-south and south-to-east curves — both reversibly signalled. The more westerly of the two has a halt to serve the nearby Johan Cruijff ArenA stadium, which is used by football specials for supporters of the visiting team, as advertised locally. Dates for Ajax games at ArenA can be found at the Ajax website (home games show Ajax first).

This curve may also be used if there is engineering work on the Schiphol - Amsterdam Zuid - Duivendrecht line. Replacement trains may run between Amsterdam Bijlmer and Almere and/or Hilversum. See the Reisinformatie, Geplande werkzaamheden page for NS engineering work for approximately the next 3 months.

Utrecht Overvecht — Bilthoven (Blauwkapel Oost aansluiting)

[16] (ERA-E 34C1; ERA-R 56B4) NL21/2

This section is quadruple track with two raised tracks and two tracks at ground level. The ground level tracks (the original alignment) previously crossed the now lifted Lunetten - Hilversum line by means of a flat crossing (Blauwkapel Kruispunt). This low level route is used by eastbound stopping trains from Utrecht CS (Centraal) to Amersfoort and Baarn, and also the trains in NL21/3.

Click on the thumbnail for a full size map.

Utrecht Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum — Bilthoven (Blauwkapel Oost aansluiting)

(ERA-E 34C1; ERA-R 56B4) NL21/3

This is the northern stub of a freight line which used to avoid Utrecht on the east side. A shuttle service operates between Utrecht Centraal station and the Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum (Netherlands Railway Museum), located at the former Maliebaan station. Trains run hourly (reversing at Blauwkapel Oost aansluiting) on Tuesdays to Sundays, and also Mondays during school holidays. Information can be found in the NS journey planner by searching for trains to or from Utrecht Maliebaan.

Gouda — Waddinxveen

[17] (ERA-E 34C1; ERA-R 56A3) NL21/4

The single track Alphen aan den Rijn branch has two possible alignments (about 200m apart from each other) west of Gouda for a distance of about 1 km, with separate bridges over the River Gouwe. The lines then come together, with a connecting crossover (251 points), before the branch diverges northwards. Since 4 September 2017, the increased service of 4 trains per hour [but not regular interval] requires some trains to cross on this section and as a result it was believed trains from Alphen aan den Rijn to Gouda used this alternative route. Two visits in May 2022 found this incorrect, as on two return trips from Gouda to Waddinxveen three trains used the more northern single line 106, and one used the crossover to the main line and 537b. The compilers would welcome further information on booked routes.

Dordrecht: Stadspolder — Baanhoekweg

(ERA-E 36C5; ERA-R 56A2) NL21/5

On the Saturday and Sunday of Dordt in Stoom, which functions in May/June every even numbered year, a shuttle service usually operates from Dordrecht Centraal over this short portion of the De Staart branch, to reach a model railway exhibition. Click on "Plattegrond" for a map showing the route.

Schiedam Centrum (Dhsa (DelfsHaven Schiebrug aansluiting) 171 points) — Rotterdam Noord (Dhsa 409 points)

(ERA-E 36B5; ERA-R 55C3) NL21/6

The line - to the west of and avoiding Rotterdam Centraal - has no regular public passenger trains but may be used by diverted IC trains between Den Haag and Utrecht when the direct line between Den Haag and Gouda is blocked for engineering work. See the Reisinformatie, Geplande werkzaamheden page for NS engineering work approximately 3 months in advance.

It is known locally as the 'Bokito' Curve, named after a gorilla which escaped from the nearby zoo!

It was used approximately twice a week by the Amsterdam Dinner Train before the operator went bankrupt in July 2019. Since the operation resumed in October 2019, it now starts from a number of different cities - see Dinner Train. The compilers would appreciate receiving any reports of whether the Dinner Train still uses this curve when starting from Amsterdam or indeed any other starting point.

Den Haag HS (Binckhorst aansluiting) — Voorburg

[1] (ERA-E 34B1; ERA-R 55C3) NL21/7

This is the "Binckhorstboog" (servicing yard curve) meant for ecs workings. The curve may also be used by diverted IC trains between Rotterdam and Utrecht when the direct line between Rotterdam and Gouda is blocked for engineering work but recently buses have been provided rather than trains diverted. See the Reisinformatie, Geplande werkzaamheden page for NS engineering work for approximately the next 3 months.

From Saturday 9 March 2024 01:00 to Monday 11 March 02:00, Den Haag CS is closed with services to and from Gouda diverted via this curve to Den Haag HS with additional stops at Zoetermeer and Voorburg.

On 26 March 2023 the following services were diverted via this route:

Gouda - Rotterdam: IC 520, 622, 524, 626, 528, 630, 532, 634, 536, 638.
Rotterdam - Gouda: IC 625, 527, 629, 531, 633, 535, 637, 539, 641, 543, 645, 547, 649.

Betuweroute: Geldermalsen — Meteren aansluiting — Valburg Oost aansluiting — Elst

[14] (ERA-E 37A5; ERA-R 56B3-C3) NL21/8

Much of the Betuweroute freight line is barred to passenger traffic owing to the presence of tunnels which were built without provision for the evacuation of passengers if required. However, this middle section of the line has no tunnels and can therefore be used by passenger trains. Note the junction at the Geldermalsen end is substantially grade separated. ICEs between Amsterdam/Utrecht and Germany may be diverted via the Betuweroute when there is engineering work between Utrecht and Arnhem. This route has an increased journey time of 30 minutes. In 2022, diversions of ICE and NJ services were scheduled for 07-22 August, 01-02 + 24-26 October and 26-27 November.

HSL Zuid: Barendrecht (Kijfhoek Noord aansluiting) — Lage Zwaluwe (Zevenbergschen Hoek aansluiting)

[103, 120] (ERA-E 36B5-C5; ERA-R 56A2-A1) NL21/9

This section of the HSL Zuid avoiding Dordrecht is used by all high speed international trains to/from Belgium, which continue further south on the HSL, and also by domestic IC services non-stop between Rotterdam and Breda which use the classic line south of Zevenbergschen Hoek aansl. Note that there is a lengthy flyover on the northbound connection as the HSL has left hand running whereas the classic line has right hand running.

Arnhem Centraal

[14, 24] (ERA-E 35B1; ERA-R 57A3 Not shown) NL21/10

There is a diveunder from the northbound track of the Nijmegen line to the north side of the layout approaching Arnhem Centraal. It is used by the half hourly Nijmegen - Utrecht service inbound to reversing at Arnhem Centraal and only in this direction.


See Netherlands - Tram services over obscure routes

Other sparse services

43: Roodeschool - Eemshaven: Trains operate in connection with ferries between Eemshaven and Borkum (D).

Special excursions organised by the Dutch Railway Enthausiasts NGO 'NVBS' are published here:

Deletions since previous edition

NL18/8 Kijfhoek — Botlek — Maasvlakte Special trains no longer run

See also