Flag of the Netherlands

Railways in the

Netherlands

The first public railway in the Netherlands was opened on 20th September, 1839, between Amsterdam (d'Eenhonderd Roe) and Haarlem, a distance of about 19km. It was built to the unusual broad gauge of 1945mm. The line was extended in stages to Rotterdam, which it reached in 1847. Another company opened a line using the same broad gauge from Amsterdam to Utrecht in 1843, extending to Arnhem in 1845. However, the latter line was converted to standard (1435mm) gauge in the 1850s to facilitate through running with the German railway network via Emmerich. The original Oude Lijn (Old Line) from Amsterdam to Rotterdam was converted to standard gauge in 1866.

In 1860 plans were put in place for a comprehensive national network, which would be built to standard gauge. The State railway company began operations in 1863. By the end of the First World War, it had taken responsibility for operation of most of the main line railways, until in 1938 they were merged to form a new State-owned company: Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS).

The Netherlands has an electronic zonal ticketing system covering all forms of public transport (train, metro, tram, bus, and the so-called "train taxis"). This is similar to schemes operating in major conurbations elsewhere, but is perhaps unique in covering the whole country.

National Network

Regional Passenger Operators

Freight Railway and Main Line Freight Operators

Infrastructure Companies

Tourist and Museum Railways

Metros and Trams

Friesland

A separate page gives a listing of station names in Dutch and Frisian for this province of the Netherlands.

Aruba

A railway serving a gold mine near Balashi opened around 1850. A phosphate mine at the southern tip of the island had a railway in the 1880s. Neither of these railways had a long life.

In the 1920s a number of railways sprang up in connection with the petroleum refining industry. Most of these did not survive beyond World War II, but one, near the capital Orajestad, is reported to have operated until 1960.

In December, 2012, a new tram line was opened in Oranjestad. Using battery powered trams it links the cruise ship terminal with the town centre, and is primarily used by tourists.

Curaçao

The first railway on the island opened in 1874, transporting phosphate from mines in Tafelberg to Fuikbaai on the southeastern coast.

In 1887 a horse drawn street tramway opened in Punda, the part of the capital Willemstad on the eastern side of Sint Annabaai. It had a U-shaped route about 2 km in length. In 1896, a tramway opened in Otrabanda on the opposite side of the bay, but it ceased operations within a few months.

The Punda line was rebuilt in 1911, regauged to metre gauge, and the horse drawn trams replaced by petrol engined ones. The line closed in 1920.

Back to Top
Railways Home
Railways of the World
Glyn Williams’ Home

© 2004-2017 Glyn Williams
Flag image from CIA World Factbook

HTML 5