Belgian Transport Minister George Gilkinet and Luxembourg Minister Juriko Bax have formally announced a request for funding from the European Union to improve the rail infrastructure connecting Luxembourg City to Brussels.
The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate railway cooperation efforts and reaffirm common aspirations in the field of railway development, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
The modernization of this line will also improve travel times and interconnectivity for the benefit of travelers.
This meeting builds on previous commitments made through Minister Gilkinette’s signing of the Letter of Intent on October 3, 2023.
The main objective of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the railway field is to strengthen cross-border ties. This strategic initiative aims to increase the number of passengers traveling by rail, with a particular focus on serving the approximately 45,000 passengers who travel between Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg each day.
The document submitted outlines a number of ambitious goals to be achieved by 2040. These goals include doubling the proportion of passengers choosing to travel by rail between Belgium and Luxembourg and doubling the volume of rail freight between the two countries.
Furthermore, the parties have set a specific goal of reducing the connection between Brussels and Luxembourg City to two hours by 2030, with the aim of increasing the attractiveness of rail travel by reducing travel times between the capitals. There is. Additionally, this joint venture initiative is supported. It is a collaboration between Belgium’s national railway company NMBS/SNCB and Luxembourg’s operator Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxemboururgeois (CFL).
A preliminary letter of intent signed in 2016 promised to connect capitals within two hours by 2023. It takes 3 hours and 15 minutes by train from Luxembourg to Brussels.
The improvement project, which began in 2007, received initial funding of 132 million euros from European funds. However, a dispute subsequently arose between the two countries over the total cost, which is expected to reach around 750 million euros. At the same time, as Minister Bausch declared in 2021, Luxembourg is contributing around 100 million euros to border works.
As well as improving infrastructure, the project also aims to encourage Belgian cross-border workers to switch from traveling by car to using trains. Approximately 45,000 Belgian residents currently cross the border into Luxembourg every day, and 85% of them use private cars for their daily commute.