Funding fiasco for high-speed rail network
18 May 2005
BRUSSELS – The construction of high-speed train lines has hit a snag in Belgium due to bungled budgeting, the French-language daily Le Soir has reported.
The country’s SNCB railway operator only realized a few weeks ago that it was a whopping EUR 282 million short on funds to complete the planned high-speed network by the end of 2006.
Key construction sites along parts of the SNCB’s northern network, from Brussels to Antwerp, and eastern lines from Liege through to the German border are affected.
These tracks must however all be altered to accommodate high-speed, or TGV, trains, including the popular Thalys trains, which run between Paris and Cologne and Amsterdam via Brussels.
But the Belgian government is unlikely to cough up more cash to help out the SNCB, which has failed to balance its own budget in the past.
The SNCB’s only alternative would therefore be to borrow additional funds to fill the EUR 282 million gap it will otherwise face at the end of 2006.
Subject: Belgian News