Sunday 16 May 2021

Belgians ‘sabotage’ Amsterdam-Brussels high-speed rail link

An Intercity train.

An Intercity train. Photo:

Belgian state rail operator NMBS is sabotaging efforts to allow the intercity train between Amsterdam and Brussels to shorten its journey time, the Financieele Dagbad said on Wednesday.

While the Belgians are willing to contribute to the cost of the improvements, they are not willing to reduce the number of stations at which the service calls in Belgium. As a result, the journey time is not shorter, junior transport minister Sharon Dijkstra said in a letter to parliament on Tuesday.

A bilateral steering group is now studying ways to make the link faster by eliminating stops in both Belgium and the Netherlands. NS has the right to operate the high-speed rail links between the two countries until 2025.

However NS can lose the concession if its service falls below certain standards. Other public transport companies, such as Arriva and Connexxion, are waiting in the wings to win the concession, the FD said.

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