Innovative approach to increased train yard capacity

28 December 2018

Strukton Rail aims to tackle the shortage of train yard capacity in the Netherlands by means of an innovative plan. The plan primarily focuses on a number of key stations in the Netherlands. Erland Tegelberg, Managing Consultant at Strukton Rail, presented the plan in December.


Erland Tegelberg explained a draft design for a parking garage for trains at an example site along the Cartesiusweg in Utrecht. Here, a second layer on top of an existing train yard can accommodate another 5 kilometres of track spread across 20 tracks, creating room for an additional 200 wagons. Especially between the morning and evening peaks, but also overnight. This makes it possible to quickly park excess rolling stock and quickly deploy additional capacity around the rail hub of the Netherlands as the need arises.

Limited Train Yard Capacity

For years inadequate train yard capacity in the Netherlands has been one of the limiting factors in the continued growth of train traffic. The Dutch National Railways (NS) estimates that it loses tens of millions of euros each year due to inadequate train yard capacity.

In a LinkedIn blog, ProRail's Programme Manager Johan Schouten speaks about the obstacles he encounters in this regard. Yet, we must increase public transportation in the Netherlands if we want to continue to be accessible and sustainable. And we must be able to rapidly change gears in order to meet daily fluctuations in transportation needs. Other countries are moving in this direction as well. As yet there are no double-layered parking garages for trains in other countries. Singapore is the only exception which is working on a plan to build a parking garage for metro rolling stock. There, just like in the Netherlands, space is a scarce commodity.


The plan provides for the construction of a second layer on top of the train yard at the Cartesiusweg with a double entry from the level of an existing flyover. This structure makes it possible for the trains on the upper layer to drive onto their own deck at the proper height. Here they are spread via switches across twenty tracks that are up to 350 metres in length. Platforms provide access to personnel to be able to shunt and clean the trains. The concrete decks on which the tracks are installed can furthermore be equipped with solar panels to generate electricity. Multiple use on top of the structure for shopping, offices or housing also has potential. The possibility of bringing trains to and from their position with remotely controlled unmanned, quiet – because they will be electric – robot locomotives is being considered for the future.