From Luxembourg to Brussels in two hours – transport minister
The train journey from Luxembourg to Brussels is expected to take around two hours and five minutes once modernisation works are finished- considerably down from the three-hour trip travellers currently need to endure - transport minister Francois Bausch said on Thursday.
Works on the 20km-long tracks in Luxembourg finished in 2018 and can now allow trains to go at higher speeds, Bausch said in response to a parliamentary question, but Belgium will not complete its part of the line until 2028.
Both countries have squabbled over the financing of the project, which is set to cost the taxpayer some €750 million euros. The works on Luxembourg's side of the border cost roughly €100 million, Bausch said.
The European Commission pledged its financial support to speed up the journey between the two European capitals, with Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans saying "it can be an example of developing infrastructure policy at European level". Plans also foresee an extension of the Brussels-Luxembourg line to Strasbourg, the EU's other hub.
The potential funding 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.
The three-hour train journey between Brussels and Luxembourg that winds through the hills of the Ardennes has been the source of despair for commuters and EU officials for decades. While in the 1970s one could reach Brussels in two hours and 15 minutes, the journey currently takes over three hours, prompting many to travel by car instead.