A train service between the capitals of Wallonia and France should be ready by December, according to Mobility Minister François Bellot, who released a few details of this project to Sudpresse and La Libre Belgique newspapers on Wednesday, while visiting the Regional Express Network, RER, worksite in Hoeilaart. The Namur – Paris link is aimed at helping to fill the gap left when the Thalys Walloon service (Liège-Namur-Paris) was scrapped two years ago.
“I feel Namur must continue to have international links,” Bellot told La Libre. “The contacts with the French authorities have been fruitful.”
France’s SNCF has a train that links Maubeuge (on the Franco-Belgian border) and Paris five times a day and, Bellot noted, “ they are very interested in a connection to Brussels, Namur and Charleroi” – Namur because of the university, Charleroi and Bruxelles for the airports.
“The reservation of train paths (slots for using a trainline, editor’s note), will be done on Thursday at a European meeting in Ljubliana,” Bellot said. “Our aim is to come up, in the 2018 transport plan, with trains that travel once again between Namur and Paris, passing through Maubeuge, Aulnois, Saint-Quentin and Compiègne.”
Trains from the Belgian railway company, SNCB, would make two return trips daily between Namur and Maubeuge, where travellers would board an SNCF train.