The head of Belgian Railways (NMBS) told Monday’s hearing into the high-speed train debacle that his company twice refused the Fyra trains built by Italian company AnsaldoBreda.
MPs from both Belgium and the Netherlands had called for the meeting, following the decision to stop the Fyra high-speed service between Amsterdam and Brussels, launched on December 9, until improvements are made.
Marc Descheermaecker told the hearing at the Benelux parliament building in Brussels the NMBS refused the trains because of a conviction something was not right with them.
‘There was a difference in attitude with the Dutch,’ Descheermaecker said. Dutch Railways (NS) had already agreed to the purchase of the AnsaldoBreda trains.
The NMBS boss also said he had the impression the Belgian company was not taken seriously by the Italian train manufacturers, a situation that only improved after the NMBS took legal proceedings.
His comments put additional pressure on NS director Bert Meerstadt who told the hearing he shared the ‘indignation and incomprehension’ of the travelling public.
Asked after the hearing if he would now resign, Meerstadt said he would not run from his responsibilities and that he is the right man to put right the problems afflicting the high-speed line between Amsterdam and Brussels.
Both men used the hearing to put the blame firmly on AnsaldoBreda for the problems which led to the Fyra breaking down regularly after its introduction on December 9 2012 and eventually being taken out of service.
It is not yet clear whether ordinary intercity services between the two cities will be resumed until the Fyra situation has been resolved.