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Train services fiasco continues with Wifi long way away

Train services fiasco continues with Wifi long way away

by John MONAGHAN 2 min. 08.09.2021
Passengers will have to wait another four years before full internet access is available on board, Transport Minister says
A train passing through Luxembourg
A train passing through Luxembourg
Photo credit: Armand Wagner

Train passengers in Luxembourg will have to wait up to four years before they can connect to Wifi on board, Transport Minister François Bausch has said, adding to the long-running debacle over train services in the country.

Wifi connections are expected to be installed in almost all train stations across Luxembourg by the end of the year but being able to connect on board during the journey – a necessity for many people travelling for work – is still a long way off.

Just over half – 55% - of all train stations are currently equipped with Wifi, but work is ongoing to bring that figure up to 95% by the end of the year, Bausch said on Tuesday in response to a written parliamentary question from Pirate Party deputy Marc Goergen.

The installation of free Wifi on board trains “will be put into operation progressively between 2023 and 2025”, the minister said. In contrast, connection is available on all bus routes. 

The upgrade of Luxembourg’s rail network has been the source of government focus, with ministers announcing in March that €300 million would be spent this year alone, including 34 new trains from French manufacturing company Alstom, and an expansion of Luxembourg City’s central train station with two new platforms and four more tracks. 

However, earlier this year, Bausch acknowledged that another modernisation project, aimed at speeding up the journey between Luxembourg and Brussels, will not be completed until the end of the decade.   The three-hour train journey between the two capitals has been the source of despair for commuters and EU officials for decades. 

While in the 1970s, travellers could reach Brussels in two hours and 15 minutes, the journey currently takes over three hours, prompting many to travel by car instead. 

Both Belgium and Luxembourg have squabbled over the financing of the project, which is set to cost the taxpayer some €750 million. 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 in July, but Belgium will not complete its part of the line until 2028.

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