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Train Station Barriers

Level Contributor
9,480 posts
26 reviews
Train Station Barriers

I'm posting this partly to ask for advice from the locals, and partly as a heads-up to other visitors (and partly as a whinge!)

I've seen barriers at train stations... but until last Saturday I had never come across any that were actually closed.

I was on my way to Schiphol using my (permanent) OV Chipkaart. I had to change trains at Sloterdijk - a station I've used before, but don't know terribly well.

The indicator boards told me that my train was scheduled to depart from Platform 10 - which turned out to be in a different part of the main station. I had to leave the building, walk across the station forecourt and then go into another building.

When I got to the other building I discovered that the barriers were closed... and that the only way to get onto the platform was to touch in with my OV Chipkaart. I was surprised - as there were no barriers in the main building, nor any signs warning passengers to touch out before heading to platforms 9 and 10 - but thought, naively, that perhaps the system was intelligent enough to somehow "know" if a passenger was in transit (for example, by looking at the time they last touched in).

But... when I got to Schiphol I discovered that my journey had cost me 20 Euro more than it should have done!!!

I went to the ticket office to ask for advice, and was given a print-out of my transactions and a phone number to contact for a refund (I've since found out that I can also claim online). Refunds are done by bank transfer, which means that if you're outside the Eurozone you either can't get a refund at all, or you get a refund minus bank charges (which could leave you with next to nothing). Fortunately this is not going to be an issue for me as I have a bank account in Germany.

Now... Sloterdijk is quite a major interchange, and I really find it very strange that they would have barriers blocking people's way to some platforms - and stranger still that travellers aren't warned about these barriers before they get to them. I wonder just how many people get caught out by this.

I think I know what to do to get a refund, but was wondering if any of the locals had any information that might help me, or others. Also, are there any other stations where one could get caught out like this?

Edited: 2:13 pm, March 10, 2016
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
1. Re: Train Station Barriers

Hmmm that sounds annoying.

I once had to get a refund. They were going to send me a form. I received a form about using public transport with a disabled person. (?!) Called them again. Waited, nothing. Called them a third time, finally got the correct form, and the guy on the phone immediately transferred the money to me before I even sent the form in. So count on perhaps needing to do some extra work, unfortunately...

At some stations (for example Utrecht) they don't have barriers (yet) and there are (way too few) poles to check in and out on, well away from the actual platform. I'll bet a lot of people forget to check out.

Maybe that one part of Sloterdijk you started on also had the poles only. If you don't know, that is annoying indeed.

I don't know about stations where you can get caught out, although Beurs metro station in Rotterdam also had me confused... felt like it was impossible to simply change lines without checking in a second time.

I did get 'caught in' two times at Muiderpoort, where the barrier wouldn't open on checking out. Apparently I had walked too far up to the actual little doors and that blocked the system, then my card produced this on he display of the barrier: 'already checked out'. So I couldn't get out! The first time some helpful lady let me pass shuffling close together with her. The second time an NS staff member had to come 'rescue' me and they told me about not walking in too far while checking out.

Another thing that is weird at Muiderpoort is the Kiosk (food and drinks) is only one one platform, with its own barriers. If you need the other platform, you can only buy something at the Kiosk by checking in and out at the 'wrong' platform, then in again at the platform you need... and I don't know if that costs you extra money.

Edited: 2:38 pm, March 10, 2016
Level Contributor
9,480 posts
26 reviews
2. Re: Train Station Barriers

The thing is...

I DO expect to check in and out at the beginning and end of my journey (and I will look for Chipkaart readers if they are not obvious - like at Schiphol where they are just dotted around the station concourse). I DON'T expect to have to check in and out when I'm merely changing trains, at the same station.

And it seems totally illogical that you can freely walk between platforms 1-8 a Sloterdijk but need to check out and in again if your train departs from platform 9 or platform 10. And the worst thing is that there is no information about this until you get to the entrance to those two platforms... and when you get there you're just faced with a closed barrier, and there are no signs there saying "If you are in transit you need to go back to the other part of the station to check out before you can check in here for your onward journey".

Edited: 3:31 pm, March 10, 2016
Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
45,830 posts
81 reviews
3. Re: Train Station Barriers

Yep for the visitor it can be annoying I agree. You always have to check out or it will deduct the €20 even if you are in the same station. Similar to if you overstap (change) trams in Amsterdam. If you don't check out from one it will take €4 off.

I have had to get a refund before and they (NS) will only allow you to do it online three times per year. for me it was fairly easy but as you say if you don't have a euro account then charges could swallow it up.

Level Contributor
9,480 posts
26 reviews
4. Re: Train Station Barriers

Are you saying that if I'm changing trains, on - say - a two-minute (published) cross-platform connection, I need to find a card reader to check out and back in again? Surely that can't be right? I've changed trains before, at other stations, and never checked out and back in again (and never had any extra money deducted)

Having to check out of a tram is different, and makes sense. Checking in and out of a train would make sense only if the card readers were on the train

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
63,840 posts
231 reviews
5. Re: Train Station Barriers

Agree that it's a mess with NS. Nope, if transferring in same station to another train of same company (NS) check in and check out is not needed. UNLESS NS has been so sneaky to split the station in 2 parts, and then often both parts have barriers. E.g. Muiderpoort and Hilversum are like this. And that already causes other nightmares, e.g. people travelling on off-peak discount cards and starting travel before 6.30 AM (--> discount), and then after the transfer suddenly paying full-fare as that part of the journey is outside the off-peak allowance! For this nightmare NS has a model of claiming back the charged too much part.

Sloterdijk is amongst the worst indeed as here only one part has the barriers. Sorry, no excuses for NS, just shameful management...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

6. Re: Train Station Barriers

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