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EU Commission joins Luxembourg and Brussels in building faster rail link

EU Commission joins Luxembourg and Brussels in building faster rail link

The train ride between the two cities currently takes three hours – way longer than it used to back in the 1970s

The European Commission has pledged its financial support for the modernisation of the train line between Luxembоurg and Brussels, bringing down travel times from three hours to just two, as announced by the Grand Duchy's Transport Minister Francois Bausch.

The project was launched by the two neighbouring countries back in 2007 with estimated costs of around 750 million euros, and partial funding by the European Union. Luxembourg completed their part of the track in 2018 at a cost of 100 million, however, the Belgian side will not be done until at least 2028.

European taxpayers are getting involved in the project

The European Commission pledged its financial support to speed up the construction process between the two European capitals, with Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans commenting that this could be an example of infrastructure development policy at the “wider European level”.

This comes as a response to events in March of this year when François Bausch and his Belgian counterpart George Gilkinet wrote a letter to the European Commission requesting additional funds amid Belgian budgetary restraints.

After a working group analysed the situation, they determined that funding from the pandemic recovery plan can be used to co-finance the project. Plans also foresee an extension of the Brussels-Luxembourg line to Strasbourg, the EU's other hub.

The €750 billion pandemic recovery fund favours environmentally-friendly infrastructure projects so that it can reduce the bloc's greenhouse emissions. The Luxembourg-Brussels line is perfect for the fund because currently frustrated passengers opt to do the journey by car.

The famous and lovely hills of the Ardennes

The three-hour train journey between Brussels and Luxembourg winds through the hills of the Ardennes with frequent stops along the way and has been the source of despair for commuters and EU officials for decades.

While in the 1970s one could reach Brussels in two hours and 15 minutes, the journey currently takes over three hours, prompting many to travel by car instead.

In comparison, currently, the train ride from Luxembourg to Paris, a much greater distance takes just over two hours and often hits speeds of more than 300 km/h. 

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