In 2017 cyclists will finally be able to take their bikes on the Dutch IC Direct trains. This is good news for bike travellers who want to use this fast rail link between Amsterdam and Brussels.
Intercity Direct train at Amsterdam Central Station. Photo © Wikimedia
High tech solution
Taking your bike on a train - you would think it would be pretty straightforward, especially in a bike-friendly country like Holland. But not so on the Intercity Direct, a fast rail link that runs between The Hague and Eindhoven and between Amsterdam and Brussels over the newly built High-Speed Rail Line (HSL). Until now Dutch Rail has not allowed cyclists to take their bike on these trains 'for safety reasons'. It was feared that in case of an emergency stop bikes might fly in the air and injure passengers.
After years of lobbying by the Dutch Cyclists' Union (Fietsersbond), Dutch Rail has finally come up with a 'high tech' solution: safety straps that will allow the bikes to be fixed securely to the train. There will be room for four bikes per train. The aim is that all 42 IC Direct trains will be refurbished and equipped with the new bike facilities by mid-2017.
The Dutch Cyclists' Union is happy with this breakthrough. It will make life a lot easier for cyclists travelling between Amsterdam and Brussels. As a spokesperson explained, this connection is very important for the many Dutch cyclists who want to travel south for a cycling holiday.
The decision will also greatly benefit bike travellers coming to Holland from the South of Europe and cyclists wanting to get back to their starting-point after doing the City Route (LF2) from Amsterdam to Brussels.
What does it mean for you?
Are you planning to travel between Amsterdam and Brussels with your bike next summer? Then check out whether bikes are allowed on the IC Direct trains on your day of travel. If you plan to travel with the Thalys or Eurostar, please note that these companies have their own rules. For more information on taking your bike on international trains to Holland, go to Getting to Holland by rail.
The train is an important mode of transport for many bike tourists, so let's hope that in the near future taking your bike on any international train, high-speed or not, will become a lot easier.