NS has three months to solve Fyra high speed train debacle

Dutch rail company NS has three months to come up with an alternative for the high-speed Fyra train, junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld told parliament on Wednesday.

She was speaking during a debate on the Frya which was cancelled earlier this month because of serious technical failings.

Several competitors want to bid for the concession between Amsterdam and Brussels, but Mansveld said they must wait until October 1 to give state-owned NS the chance to solve the problem.

Private firms

MPs wanted the minister to begin negotiations with private companies such as Arriva and Thalys immediately. ‘If we are to take a decision on the franchise in October, we need to be able to choose from several possibilities,’ Labour MP Duco Hoogland said.

However, legally the government can only open negotiations with competitors if the NS cannot come up with an alternative to the Fyra.

Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told parliament he will keep a close eye on the financial consequences for the whole of the NS. ‘We want a healthy company whose central task is to serve the main railway network,’ he said.

Five years

The NS is the only train provider that can use the high-speed line, for which it pays the state €101m per year. The concession contains a series of demands.

If the concession has to be renegotiated with other providers, this could take between two and five years, according to the Telegraaf.

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