The railway between Hoek van Holland (Hook of Holland) and Rotterdam closed on 31 March 2017 for rebuilding as a light rail line, which will be connected to the Rotterdam metro system via a new viaduct being built at Schiedam, north of the city centre. The branch line from Schiedam, north of Rotterdam, to Hoek opened in 1891 and was electrified at 1500V DC in 1935. Boat trains to and from Hoek served a wide range of international destinations connecting with ferries from East Coast ports in the UK, latterly from Harwich. The last international service from Hoek ended in 1993 to Warsaw via Berlin, although NS continued to run direct Hoek van Holland to Amsterdam boat trains using EMUs until 2006.

Connections between ferries from Harwich and the new light rail route will be possible once it opens in October, and arrangements for through ticketing are planned, although the details are not known. The new light rail services will serve the metro station underneath Rotterdam CS station, not the main line platforms.

NS marked the end of heavy rail passenger operation with special farewell trains operated with historic rolling stock on 26 March. Provision for continued freight access to the line is part of the light rail project.

Locomore in Berlin: with Hector Rail loco No 242517 leading, the southbound Berlin Lichtenberg to Stuttgart service arrives at Berlin Hbf on 31 March 2017. The first two coaches are not in Locomore livery and were added to increase capacity; both are ex-DB – one of them having previously been used by NS in the Netherlands (whose livery it retains!).
Keith Fender