Opposition calls for parliamentary enquiry into Fyra high-speed trains

Opposition MPs are calling for a full-blown parliamentary enquiry into the problems surrounding the Fyra high-speed train service, the AD reports on Tuesday.

While the ruling Labour party think it too soon, MPs from the VVD Liberal party ‘do not want to rule out any option’, the paper says, meaning there may be majority support.

‘It is high time we had an in-depth investigation into the role of the government when the contracts were awarded,’ D66 parliamentarian Stientje van Veldhoven told the paper. ‘There is a reason the Fyra story is being named the biggest railway chaos on one track ever.’

Multiple years

CDA MP Sander de Rouwe told the paper mistake after mistake has been made. ‘All in all, the damage runs into billions,’ he said. ‘We have had enquiries into events involving far less money.’

Fyra services were suspended last week because three trains were damaged by ice and snow. But there have been continual problems since the service was launched in early December, replacing intercity services between Amsterdam and Brussels.

On Monday, the Belgian railway authority NMBS, jointly responsible for Fyra with the Dutch, said it was bringing back a direct link between Roosendaal and Antwerp.

Train design

The NMBS has also given the Italian train builder, AnsaldoBreda, three months to solve the problems.

The NS has ordered 16 trains from AnsaldoBreda, which has so far delivered nine. None of the three Belgian trains have yet been delivered but 55% of the total cost of €60m has been paid, the NRC reported.

According to the Volkskrant, the contracting process for the high-speed trains generated just two offers – from French firm Alstom and from AnsaldoBreda. Both firms were in financial trouble and needed the orders, the paper says.

AnsaldoBreda, which won the contract, had no experience in building high-speed trains.

Anstrom built the high-speed Thalys trains which use the same track as the Fyra but have a far better punctuality record.

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