442.The Man in Blue ~ Rotterdam – Den Haag

Travelling by public transport from Vlissingen to Rotterdam is usually by train, and similarly when travelling from Rotterdam to Den Haag the train is the norm. But I liked my trip by bus and coach going from island to island via dikes, bridges and tunnel and I liked my trip by RandstadRail from Rotterdam to Den Haag.

The Randstad is the densely populated area between Rotterdam, Den Haag, Amsterdam and Utrecht. The RandstadRail project connects a suburban railway line to the east of Den Haag with the Den Haag tram system, using tram-trains, and connects a suburban railway line from Den Haag to Rotterdam with the Rotterdam Metro system.

The tram-trains in the Den Haag area are running and passengers travel from the suburbs into central Den Haag without changing. In Rotterdam the RandstadRail metros leave from the Central Station through a new tunnel to connect with the suburban line to Den Haag CS. Eventually the RandstadRail metros will leave from metro station Slinge and run to Den Haag via Zuidplein and Rotterdam CS.

The two services share the same tracks in the Den Haag area between Leidseveen and Den Haag NOI, which is also served by Netherlands’ Railways (NS). See the diagram on one of the pictures that illustrate this article.

After arriving by coach at Zuidplein I took the metro to Central Station where I took some pictures and got a RandstadRail metro to Den Haag. The trip was very pleasant, we ran on schedule and the train had seats that were sufficiently comfortable for the relatively short journey (about 30 minutes).

From Zuidplein to Rotterdam Centraal the metro runs about 8 times an hour, from there to Den Haag 4 times an hour. In the Netherlands there are usually good connections and easy transfers between trains, metro, tram and bus or coach.

The bus, coach and metros to Den Haag were punctual, but when later in the week I went from Den Haag to Amsterdam, Amersfoort and Antwerpen all my trains were running behind schedule.

From Den Haag Central Station I took tram 6 from the high tram and RandstadRail tram-train platform to Hobbemaplein, near the house of my friend Jatinder Singh.

UK trains are not designed for long legged gents like me, in Belgium and the Netherlands even ordinary IC or semi-direct trains offer more legroom than long distance Virgin or East Coast trains.

In the Netherlands ProRail looks after tracks and stations and NS after the train operation. This has increased the number of closures of sections of the track exponentially. Some of the rural lines are now operated by the same companies that run the buses in those regions and this seems to be quite successful.