Monday 19 April 2021

High-speed train service Fyra problems ‘due to political choices’

Fyra.png

The problems with the Fyra high-speed train service from Amsterdam to Brussels are as much to do with politicians as with the train manufacturer and railway operators, according to the main Dutch railway union chief.

Roel Berghuis of union FNV Spoor says the problems with the Fyra service go ‘well beyond the teething problems when a new train is brought in’.

Fyra services have now been suspended after three trains were damaged by snow and ice last week. The new service started in December, replacing slower intercity trains, but has been beset by delays and breakdowns since then.

On Friday Belgium said it would not allow Fyra trains to use its railway tracks until all the problems had been ironed out.

Contract

Berghuis told news agency ANP on Monday the Dutch and Belgian government made a number of mistakes when developing the high-speed service. For example, price was the only criterium used in assessing tenders to supply the trains.

This led to the choice of Italian factory AnsaldoBreda, which had no previous experience in high-speed train construction.

The trains have also been hit by problems with the infrastructure, such as broken cables and point failures.

Intercity

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Dutch rail company NS told Radio 1 plans are under way to bring back intercity services between the two capitals.

‘We want a structural solution until Fyra is up to scratch,’ the spokesman said. The NS has now asked rail operator ProRail to free up track space for intercity trains.

Junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld said at the weekend she wanted to see an alternative train service to Fyra by the end of the month.

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