The Netherlands
September 2, 2018

I started the day boarding this train at Leiden, heading east through Alphen aan den Rijn and terminating at Utrecht. Utrecht is at the center of the Netherlands, and is the headquarters and hub of the railway system. Trains on this route have basically operated half hourly for at least the past 50 years. But 2 car single level train sets have given way to these longer double decker trains. Much of the line remains single track, although some double track segments have been added. As long as trains run on time, which they usually do, then the single track meets are made with minimal delay.

This is a typical farm scene in the Netherlands, as viewed from the train to Utrecht. With the fields separated by canals instead of fences.

At Utrecht I connected with a train north to Almere. Almere is in Flevoland, which is the 12th and newest province in the Netherlands. This is artificial land created within the Ijsselmeer, which is the lake formerly the Zuider Zee. Almere is a completely new city, with a new train station straight ahead.

From Almere I proceeded to Amsterdam where I did some general sightseeing. Here is the Anne Frank House, which had visited during my childhood. Now there is a large visitor center nearby.

A typical canal scene in Amsterdam.

Some of the main streets in Amsterdam are so narrow, that there are single track segments on the streetcar lines. Here a streetcar reenters the double track.

One goal for the Netherlands part of this trip, was to ride some of the railway lines which I had missed 40 years earlier. From Amsterdam I rode back through Almere, on the new line through Flevoland continuing east to Zwolle. From Zwolle I rode south to Deventer. Some trains have these nifty display screens, identifying the next stop and available connections. This train would arrive Deventer on Track (Spoor) 3. And on Track 4 I could connect with a westbound Intercity (IC) train through Apeldoorn and Amersfoort. That train continued to the Schiphol Airport station, where I would connect with one more train to Leiden. Schiphol is the main international airport serving the Netherlands, southwest of Amsterdam. (Airport code AMS.) In recent years, many European railway systems have extended their lines to directly serve their international airports.