Day train between Basel and Amsterdam cut after 96 years on the rails

Day train between Basel and Amsterdam cut after 96 years on the rails

96 years after the service first took the tracks, public transport providers in the Netherlands and Germany have confirmed that the direct day train between Basel and Amsterdam will be discontinued from mid-July. Pro-rail associations in Switzerland have registered their disappointment with the decision, and the fact that Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) didn't do more to keep the line open.

Basel-Amsterdam train cut from July 2024, NS confirms

According to an announcement from Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), the direct rail service between Basel and Amsterdam, calling at major cities like Freiburg, Frankfurt, Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Arnhem and Utrecht on the way, will be discontinued from July 15, 2024, due to engineering works in Germany. Sadly, NS confirmed that at the request of Deutsche Bahn, who jointly runs the service, it will not return to timetables once the work is completed.

This means that the only direct train between Switzerland and the Netherlands will be the night train between Zurich and the Dutch capital, which reopened in 2021. Day travellers between the two cities will now have to change in Manheim, Frankfurt or Cologne.

Deutsche Bahn sees more profit in serving Munich than Basel

First launched as the Edelweiss in 1928, before being renamed to the Trans Europe Express in 1957, the route has been a staple of the Swiss public transport network for 96 years. It was originally envisioned as a way to give the residents of the Netherlands and the Rhine Valley a quick and easy way to get to Switzerland, its mountains and beyond to Italy.

Now, the Tages-Anzeiger claimed that Deutsche Bahn wanted to scrap the route in favour of other direct services between the Netherlands and German cities like Munich. While it did not directly confirm the theory, NS itself admitted that “rail companies see growing demand for passengers in Germany’s third-largest city in the coming years.”

Pro-rail associations in Switzerland lament the move to cut services

Speaking to the Tages-Anzieger, Pro Bahn Switzerland spokesperson Bastian Bommer lamented the fact that Amsterdam will join many top European destinations like Nice, Montpellier, Trieste, Copenhagen, Prague, Brussels and Belgrade in no longer having direct day trains from Switzerland. He added that it was worrying that SBB did not want to step in to run the line itself. 

Regarding the new mandatory connection in Germany, “You can bet that it won’t work and you’ll miss the connection”, was his response.

“Deutsche Bahn’s decision shows how fragile Switzerland’s position as a cooperation partner is – we obviously don’t have a strong negotiating position,” noted Basel National Councillor Katja Christ (GLP). She added that the announcement is “extremely painful” and a reversal of hopes that new inter-European direct lines would be created in the future.

SBB regrets the scrapping of Basel-Amsterdam train

For their part, SBB wrote in a statement that while it regretted the closure of the service, journey times between the two cities will not be heavily impacted. They also assured that SBB's plans to expand to new destinations in Europe are unaffected by the announcement.

Thumb image credit: travelview /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

Read more



Leave a comment