Dutch railways wants to dump Italian high-speed train

4th June 2013, Comments 0 comments

Dutch national railways on Monday said they wanted to ditch costly high-speed trains made by Italian company AnsaldoBreda, three days after a similar decision was announced in Belgium.

The Dutch Railways (NS) Board "has indicated that they no longer want to go through with the V250 train made by AnsaldoBreda," the NS said in a statement on Monday evening.

"An investigation into the technical aspects have confirmed that the V250 was completely unreliable," the NS added.

Known popularly as the "Fyra", the high-speed train was supposed to carry passengers from Amsterdam to Brussels at speeds of around 250 km/h (155 miles per hour), but has run into major problems since its official launch on December 9 last year.

Local news reports said the trains were often late because of problems with software, brakes as well as parts of the train loosening and falling off among other issues.

On January 17, just over a month after its official launch, the NS decided to take all Fyras off the track and opened a full-scale probe.

"Based on the conclusions of an extensive investigation, the NS has come to the conclusion that continuing with the V250 would be irresponsible and not desirable for travellers," the NS said.

The NS's conclusions are to be presented to Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem later this week, Dutch media reported, saying opposition parties in parliament had called for an urgent debate on the issue.

The NS, although operating as a company, is completely owned by the Dutch state which would have the final say on whether to pull the plug on the Fyra project.

Belgian rail authorities on Friday announced ending their contract with AnsaldoBreda, saying the Fyra "had fundamental reliability problems as well as with safety", the daily Algemeen Dagblad said.

The Italian company in its response said over the weekend the Belgian decision had been met "with dismay and disappointment" adding the reasons to cancel the contract "are not technical, but of (the) other kind", but it did not elaborate.

The announcement "offends the commitment of dozens of Dutch, Belgian and Italian workers committed for weeks to honour the contractual commitments, mortifying their professionalism and experience", added the company which has various manufacturing sites in Italy including Naples and Palermo.

© 2013 AFP

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