Let the train take the strain

Let the train take the strain

The Dutch railway operator is retrofitting its intercity train fleet to make it more efficient.

Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the railway operator in the Netherlands, is improving the environmental performance of 50 of its intercity trains through a retrofitting programme that will be completed in spring 2013. The first retrofitted trains are already in operation, on the line between Amsterdam Central Station and The Hague.

The retrofit is being done to double-decker passenger trains purchased by NS in the 1990s. Because of efficiency improvements, in particular to passenger carriages, the refurbished trains can be made 9% more efficient, according to NS. The retrofit is expected to extend the lifespans of the trains by 15 years.

Retrofitting was chosen because it can offer cost savings compared to the purchase of new trains. In addition, the retrofit is being done in the Netherlands, by NS engineering subsidiary NedTrain at its facility in Haarlem. The NS eco-innovation initiative thus helps the Netherlands retain highly skilled jobs – in June, NedTrain agreed placement agreements for 45 student engineers. The NS retrofit programme is a potential example to other railway companies seeking to improve their environmental performance while keeping costs down.

The main eco-efficient improvements to the trains are improved aerodynamics, a modern and efficient in-carriage air control system, better insulation, refurbished toilets and lighting systems that consume less energy. Carriage interiors have also been remodeled to make them more comfortable for travellers. Much of the waste generated by cutting and refitting carriages has been recycled.

Journeys made in the refurbished trains are four times more fuel efficient per passenger kilometer than car journeys, according to NS.

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