The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the modernisation of the link between the two capitals, envisaged under the 2.6-billion-euro federal Recovery and Investment Plan, announced on Friday.
Work on the link, totalling 112 million euros, is part of the global “Euro-Cap-Rail” project linking Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg. In Belgium, the project will increase the speed on many sections of the railway from 130 km/h to 160 km/h. Some level crossings will be scrapped, rocky wall faces will be protected, and the Ciney train station is to be refurbished, Belga News Agency reports.
The sum of 125 million euros will be spent on modernising the railway network, as was announced in April. The Government will also provide an additional budget of 260 million euros to double the volume of goods transported by rail by 2030.
Another key component of the modernization is the creation of 40 accessible, multimode train stations, for which the Government plans to invest close to 100 million euros between 2022 and 2024.
Other measures in the plan, presented on Friday by Thomas Dermine (PS), Secretary of State for Recovery and Strategic Investments, include the renovation of public buildings such as the Cinquantenaire (Jubilee Park) and the Royal Palace.
Some 150 million euros will go to the Régie des Bâtiments (Building Authority) for making buildings more energy efficient, while 10.8 million euros will be used to renovate the Brussels Stock Exchange and turn it into a new economic, tourism and socio-economic hub.
Renovating and improving the country’s historical patrimony is price-tagged in the plan at 170 million euros, to be used, for starters, on the outer walls of the Brussels Law Courts, the roof of the Cinquantenaire, and the heating systems of the Court of Audit and the Royal Palace.