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European Commission to get involved in Luxembourg-Brussels train line

European Commission to get involved in Luxembourg-Brussels train line

by Yannick LAMBERT 16.03.2021 From our online archive
Aim is to get the travel time down to two hours between the two European capitals by 2030, although no detailed planned schedule is in place
Photo credit: Photo: Serge Waldbillig

The European Commission has responded positively to a request from Luxembourg and Belgium to financially support the modernisation of the train connection between the two European capitals, which has been plagued by delays, as the bloc prepares its economic recovery from the pandemic.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans responded on March 10 to a letter from January 14 from Transport Minister François Bausch and his Belgian counterpart George Gilkinet, requesting funds amid Belgian budgetary restraints, saying that "it can be an example of developing infrastructure policy at European level".

The European Commission wants to first set up "a working group to take stock of the situation", although it did not provide any further details as to the planned schedule.  

Currently, the journey takes around three hours over a track that winds through the hills of the Ardennes, with frequent stops along the way, compared to just over two hours to get to Paris on a train that often hits speeds of more than 300 km/hr.  

The work to improve the connection could be completed by 2030, however no budget has yet been committed to it.

The modernisation project started in 2007, costing some €750 million, of which €132 million came from European funds.

The potential budgetary assistance from the Commission could come from the EU's €750 billion pandemic recovery fund, which aims to favour environmentally-friendly infrastructure projects which will reduce the bloc's greenhouse emissions. 

(Additional reporting by Jean-Michel Hennebert)

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