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Head of Railroad Wants Fewer Trains

Published on 12/02/2007

12 February 2007

BRUSSELS — “Buses would do a better job than trains on the regional routes”, says director of the national railroad monopoly NMBS Leo Pardon.

It does not happen every day that the head of the national rail services asks for fewer trains, De Standaard writes. However, Leo Pardon can finally speak his mind as he is planning to retire this month after 38 years with the NMBS.

“What I am saying is bad for the railroad. And yet it is true that to commute to small towns, buses are cheaper and more flexible. Trains are better to carry larger masses of people between two bigger cities”, Pardon said.

As long as the government is prepared to continue paying the cost, I see no problem, he added.

Pardon also pointed out that the general ageing of the population will soon bring changes to the demand for trains. For example, it will become less crowded during the morning rush hour.

As for the international connections, Pardon believes Thalys and Eurostar should become independent organisations to increase competition.

In Pardon’s view, the ski train that has been operating between Belgium and Austria for two winters has proved to be a failure.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news