In an election debate in the Dutch news programme Nieuwsuur, European taxes for plane tickets were discussed. If and when this becomes reality, fast alternatives are important. According to Esther de Lange, member of the European Parliament for the Christian democrats, alternatives are still not fast enough to be an option. She said: ‘The travel time from The Netherlands to Berlin by train is as long as twenty years ago.’ It is not.
A direct train connection between Amsterdam and Berlin was already in place in 1999. At that time the train stopped at three railway stations in The Netherlands and eight railway stations in Germany (among others: Osnabruck, Hanover and Magdeburg). The fastest connection departed three times a day, according to this old-fashioned journey planner. From the last railway station in the Netherlands, Hengelo, the travel time was five and a half hours.
Nowadays the direct train between Amsterdam and Berlin departs seven times a day. The train stops at seven railways stations in The Netherlands. In Germany the train stops only in Bad Bentheim, Osnabruck and Hannover. So in Germany the number of stops has decreased from eight to three, resulting in a shorter travel time from Hengelo to Berlin by one hour. The travel time for a direct connection is now four and a half hour. Within twenty years the fastest journey from the border of the Netherlands to Berlin is reduced by one hour. That means an improvement of eighteen percent.
The claim made by De Lange: “The travel time from The Netherlands to Berlin by train is as long as twenty years ago” is false. In fact, travel time has been reduced by one hour.
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