Schiphol: North-South line can be extended

All of a sudden, the North-South line can be extended all the way to Schiphol. Agreement has been reached with the city of Amsterdam about public transport issues at the airport.

It is no longer a question of whether the metro line should be extended, but when,” Schiphol CEO Dick Benschop said on Monday evening in the periphery of the airport’s New Year meeting.

“Together with Amsterdam, the Regional Transport Authority, NS and ProRail, we are looking to extend our NS railway station, in getting more space for high-speed trains and possibilities for extending the North-South line. Mutual agreement has been reached on this over the past few months. The first proposals are now in The Hague.”

The municipality confirms the plans. “It is true that Amsterdam is negotiating with several parties about improvements to connections with Schiphol, including exploring extension of the North-South line,” says Sharon Dijksma, city councillor for Traffic and Transport.

Sources at ProRail, NS and the regional municipalities are less cautious. They confirm the involvement of the PvdA politician, who was the State Secretary for Aviation responsible for Schiphol in the previous cabinet.

“In discussions about extending the metro line, Amsterdam is already on board,” says a source.

The Amsterdam coalition agreement concluded last year includes the connection to Schiphol Airport: ‘We’re negotiating with the region about extending the North-South line, both northwards and southwards.’

With his announcement, Benschop, who was once State Secretary for the PvdA – poses a dilemma for Amsterdam municipality. Coalition parties GroenLinks and SP are sceptical and would rather spend the required three billion euro on other projects.

High-speed trains
t’s a rather smart move to present all the public transport plans for Schiphol, including extending the North-South line in collaboration with Amsterdam to the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. If she gives her blessing and commits to a financial contribution, it will be more difficult for the city council to disagree with such a proposal.

By extending the metro line along the A10 and A4 highways, a large part of those travelling locally by train will take the metro. This would particularly be commuters from Amsterdam to companies around Schiphol and airline passengers from all over the capital.

The reduction of the number of local trains will, in turn, create space for international high-speed trains at the airport’s underground railway station. The train tunnels cannot be expanded, because in the past Schiphol was built over it.

Schiphol would like – in line with cabinet policy – to complement flights to destinations within 800 kilometres with high-speed railway traffic. But there’s no room for that at the congested railway station. Benschop: “The high-speed train to London doesn’t even stop here, neither to Germany.”

“We need to take our international train connections a step further. That can only be achieved by extending the metro line through to Schiphol and Hoofddorp. Only then will we be able to make better use of the railway tunnels for our network of international destinations.”

‘Seeking aid’

Benschop has nothing to report yet about the time span nor the manner of financing. “However, we are willing to explore how we can make a contribution. We don’t only want to seek aid, but we also want to contribute something.” For example, a contract could be concluded for land development of office areas next to the track.

The plan ‘Future-proof Mobility System Amsterdam-Schiphol’ refers to a time span of ten years. In order to bridge that time span, as from 2023 NS would have to temporarily deploy ‘unscheduled’ local trains between Amsterdam and Schiphol, the so-called Airport Sprinter.