Ecolo-Greens say trains must be part of the solution, not cut back
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    Ecolo-Greens say trains must be part of the solution, not cut back

    Credit: Belga

    Infrabel have contested the status of a memo that discusses closing smaller railway lines. 

    Despite this, on Saturday the Ecolo-Greens said its very existence is worrying as rail transport urgently needs reinvestment. 

    An Infrabel internal memo mentioned in Saturday’s L’Echo and De Tijd warns smaller lines will have to close and investment in Antwerp port could be threatened if Infrabel does not urgently receive extra funding. 

    “This Infrabel memo shows how severely under-maintained some SNCB lines are, particularly in Wallonia. It also proves the traditional parties still see the SNCB as a way to adjust the budget rather that a high-priority strategic investment, despite the urgent climate and mobility issues we are currently facing,” said federal Ecolo MP Sarah Schlitz. 

    Ecolo thinks the railways are important for the future: they could improve mobility, provide a low-polluting alternative to cars, and reduce commercial traffic on the roads. They think the future federal government should make maintaining and developing the railway network a priority, including the smaller lines. 

    The Ecolo-Greens once again emphasized that a high-quality public railway service would help solve many modern-day problems, such as air quality, climate change, mobility and business competitiveness. 

    “We need to give them everything necessary to maintain and modernise all the lines, even the small ones. A run-down network is vulnerable and it slows right down. Trains have to be reliable to be a credible alternative means of transport,” said Schlitz. 

    She claimed the railway network needs to be extended, via the completion of the RER and new projects like the Liege Express Network. She said passenger trains need to cover more distance and become more frequent and the railways need to start providing freight transport again. 

    Sarah Johansson

    The Brussels Times