SNCB wants to increase its train service by 4% from December 2020
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    SNCB wants to increase its train service by 4% from December 2020

    The M7s will help to significantly reduce the average age of the train fleet. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    Belgian railway company SNCB/NMBS has the ambition to increase its service with 4% from the end of 2020.

    The increase is part of the proposal that will be presented to the company’s board of director in December, said Sophie Dutordoir, the CEO of the SNCB, in the Parliamentary Committee for Mobility on Wednesday.

    The current transport plan was implemented at the end of 2017, increasing the SNCB’s train supply by about 5% as well.

    The next transport plan will enter into force in December 2020 and will run until 2023.

    The expansion is possible thanks to the arrival of the new M7 Double-deck Coaches, which provide extra seats. Tests are in progress, and the first carriages are supposed to enter into service over the course of January, Dutordoir said. “Bombardier, the constructor, has confirmed the series production from March 2020, with ten carriages per month,” she added, reports Bruzz.

    SNCB placed the order for 445 M7 Double-deck Coaches with Bombardier at the end of 2015, but the delivery was delayed repeatedly.

    The M7s will help to significantly reduce the average age of the train fleet, as the oldest equipment will go out of service once the carriages are delivered. Currently, almost half of all trains are over 30 years old. With the implementation of the new transport plan, that number should be reduced to about 20% by 2023, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

    Newer trains will also make for more reliability, as older trains are more likely to shut down. Passengers comfort will also be improved as more trains will have air conditioning and information screens, according to the transport company.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times