Monday 24 February 2020

MPs agree: parliamentary inquiry into Fyra high speed train debacle

Parliament is to hold a formal inquiry into the chaos surrounding the Fyra high-speed train service from Amsterdam to Brussels, which has now been abandoned by both its partners.

MPs want to know how the Dutch and Belgian railway companies came to order trains which turned out to have so many technical problems. The service was launched last December but was suspended several weeks later after repeated breakdowns and delays.

A parliamentary inquiry can hear witnesses under oath, which MPs say is necessary to get access to sensitive information.

‘A parliamentary inquiry is the most serious option open to MPs but in this case is fully justified,’ D66 parliamentarian Stientje van Veldhoven said.

10 years

Problems with the Fyra service stretch back 10 years but came to a head on Friday when Belgian rail operator NMBS said it was pulling out because of the safety issues. Dutch state-owned NS did the same on Monday, a few hours after the company’s chief executive said he was stepping down.

Rail users’ organisations have called on junior transport minister Wilma Mansveld to find an alternative solution as quickly as possible. They want the minister to cancel the contract with NS and bring in a new operator.

Alternative providers are already lining up but NS is refusing to budge. ‘We have a contract that runs until 2024 and that is still valid,’ a spokesman is quoted as saying by the Telegraaf.

Earlier stories
NS has until Friday to come up with an alternative for Fyra
Dutch Rail chief resigns as Fyra row rumbles on
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