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    Cabinet gives thumbs up to railway investment plan

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Belgium’s cabinet on Friday approved the multiannual investment plans for 2018-2020 and strategic investment plans of the SNCB and Infrabel railway companies, thereby pledging to invest 5.3 billion euros in the railway sector in coming years. A significant feature of the SNCB’s 1.7-billion-dollar multiannual investment plan for 2018-2020 is the rollout of the European Train Control System, ETCS, which includes replacing rolling stock that is not adaptable to the new signalling system.

    New M7 cars will be added to the public transport service to address issues such as the growing number of commuters, network-capacity problems, travellers’ calls for modern comfort, the need to replace materials that have reached the end of their shelf life, and the need to reduce the trains’ downtime. The SNCB will also acquire high-speed trains to be able to keep providing cross-border services.

    “This government is investing in the railways, and these investment plans also place the customer at the centre,” Mobility Minister François Bellot said. “New lines, a more modern, more comfortable railway station infrastructure without being extravagant, investment in safety, guaranteed quality for our vast railway network and even, thanks to the billion-euro supplement, extending this network and finalizing the RER [Regional Express Network] around Brussels.”

    Prime Minister Charles Michel has included these plans in his Strategic Investment Pact, which was mapped out in conjunction with the federated bodies. “It’s a positive, optimistic and necessary signal,” Michel said.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times