The Netherlands has the busiest rail network in Europe. Each year over 3.3 million train journeys are made on the 7,028 km of rails, with its 7,172 switches and 11,843 signals. In addition to all that, there are four municipalities that have their own metro and/or tram networks.
After the public limited company Nederlandse Spoorwegen was established in 1938, nearly all the rail infrastructure belonging to the company's predecessors came under the control of Nederlandse Spoorwegen. NS became the owner and operator of almost all of the Netherlands' rail network. NS even controlled some railways that had been run by the state. The state maintained control by becoming the 100% shareholder of the new company. But this did not make NS a government organization, but rather a semi-governmental limited company, unlike the Dutch postal, telegraph, and telephone company PTT, which was entirely state-owned. Starting in the 1970s, investments were made in expanding the rail network. This resulted in the construction of the Zoetermeer Stadslijn rail connection (between The Hague and Zoetermeer), the Weesp-Leiden railway (including the western and south-eastern branches of Amsterdam's Ringspoorbaan ring railway), the Veenendaallijn rail connection (between De Haar and Rhenen), and the Weesp-Lelystad railway. The investments also resulted in track doubling, new stations, the electrification of regional railways, grade-separated junctions, flyovers, railway tunnels, and a significant decrease in the number of level crossings through the construction of grade-separated crossings. In addition, a great deal of renovations were carried out, with new signals, switches, and technical installations. NS is also the organization that came up with the idea for the Schiphol-Antwerp high-speed railway, the proposed high-speed railway between Amsterdam and the German border, and the proposed railway between Amsterdam and Groningen. NS itself was never a proponent of the controversial Betuweroute railway, but the Dutch government pressured NS to support it.
The preference of NS would have been to improve the old Betuwelijn railway. In approximately 1995, NS's high-speed railway projects were removed from their control and handed over to the Netherlands' Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management. The new Betuweroute project did remain in the hands of NS. Before privatization, NS was in favour of the proposed railway between Amsterdam and Groningen, because at the time of construction of the Weesp-Lelystad railway, the plan had been to quickly extend the railway to reach Heerenveen and Groningen. In 1988, an ambitious plan was presented under the name of Rail 21. NS's goal was to make the Dutch railway network one of the most modern in Europe. This plan was only carried out in part. In 1995, at the time of privatization, the management functions were distributed to the support services NS Railinfrabeheer, NS Verkeersleiding, and Railned. Ownership remained with the private limited company Nederlandse Spoorwegen. This did not change until 1 July 2002, when it was officially transferred to the former Dutch Ministry of of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, which later transferred it to NS Railinfratrust. At that time the support services were also definitively separated from NS. As from 1 January 2003, the support services were permanently transferred to the current railway infrastructure maintenance and management organization ProRail.
To keep all this running smoothly and reliably, Staka provides the many different types of outdoor installation boxes for the many things that keep these networks running, from electricity and traction power to switch control and heating to signals and safety features. Staka makes these boxes in stainless steel for maximum protection, so the systems in them can offer safe and trouble-free functionality around the clock.
If you have any questions relating to the rail segment, Feel free to contact our adviser Richard Esendam.