Italian high-speed train company blames Belgian, Dutch

6th June 2013, Comments 0 comments

Italy's AnsaldoBreda lashed out Thursday at Dutch and Belgian rail authorities for improper use the high speed trains it manufactures after they threatened to cancel their contracts.

"The reasons given by our clients are baseless and unfounded," the company's CEO Maurizio Manfellotto said at a press conference.

Belgian railways (SNCB) announced on May 31 that it is ending its contract with AnsaldoBreda and Dutch Railways (NS) is considering following suit, saying an investigation found the "V250 was completely unreliable".

Dutch and Belgium railways had ordered a total of 19 trains from AnsaldoBreda for 20 million euros ($26 million) each, but the "Fyra", as the V250 train is known, has run into major problems since its December launch.

There have been reports of problems with software and the brakes as well as parts of the train loosening or falling off.

But AnsaldoBreda said the trains had been pushed too far in poor weather conditions.

"We don't want to avoid our responsibilities but we will show that primarily they lie with our clients," Manfellotto said.

AnsaldoBreda claims the trains were used in January at full throttle -- speeds of around 250 km/h (155 miles per hour) -- without taking into account heavy snow and ice.

"From the start, our clients have behaved inappropriately on the managerial front," Manfellotto said.

AnsaldoBreda, a subsidiary of Italian aerospace and defence giant Finmeccanica, said the claims had been "devastating in terms of image" and had earlier announced it will sue SNCB for cancelling the contract.

In a statement on Thursday, Finmeccanica said it would support AnsaldoBreda in any action it takes "to safeguard its employees, its interests and its image."

Manfellotto said he was also concerned about "possible consequences for jobs" in the AnsaldoBreda factories in Naples and Pistoia, though he ruled out an immediate knock-on effect due to other current orders.

© 2013 AFP

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