Nearly entire train network shuts down in Netherlands over strike

Staff at the railway firm NS stop work in the central Netherlands region that acts as a hub for nearly all train lines.

A stranded traveller passes an artwork of a blue train by Miffy creator Dick Bruna, at Utrecht central station as train services came to a near standstill
A stranded traveller passes a sculpture of a blue train at Utrecht Centraal station [Peter Dejong/AP]

Nearly the entire Dutch rail network has been shut down as workers affected by soaring inflation and staff shortages are on strike to demand better pay and working conditions.

Staff at the railway company Nederlandes Spoorwegen (NS) stopped work for the day on Tuesday in the central Netherlands region that acts as a hub for nearly all train lines, halting trains across the country.

An exception was the line linking Amsterdam with the busy Schiphol airport that returned to service after a strike shut it down on Monday.

Utrecht Centraal station, the country’s biggest rail hub and normally packed with travellers, was eerily deserted on Tuesday morning.

Screens showing train timetables were lit up with the word “cancelled” in red letters and a station announcer explained in Dutch and English that services were being hit by the strike.

NS said in a statement that international trains operated by Thalys and Eurostar were running again after being halted on Monday.

Schiphol said in a warning to travellers that NS had indicated that four trains an hour would run each way between the airport and the Dutch capital’s central station.

Labour unions have called a series of strikes on the Dutch rail network after negotiations on a new collective labour agreement broke down.

All trains listed were marked "Cancelled" in red at Utrecht central station as train services came to a near standstill in the latest in a series of strikes by railway workers hits the Netherlands
All trains listed were marked “cancelled” in red at Utrecht Centraal station [Peter Dejong/AP]
Source: News Agencies