Belgium invests to upgrade its rail network


 The investment programme by the state owned rail company NMBS will be spread over 12 years between 2013 and 2025. 

The lion’s share (24.225 billion euro) of the money would come from the Federal Government while 770 million would come from the fund that finances the Regional Express Network around Brussels, 344 from alternative sources and 236 from NMBS Group’s own means.

5,228 billion euro is ear-marked for improvements to safety, 16.1 billion for improving rail service, 2 billion for infrastructure and 1.5 for so-called priority projects in Flanders and Wallonia to ease the strain on the rail network within Greater Brussels.

The NMBS’ spokeswoman Leen Uyterhoeven says that the ambitious plan includes a whole range of things that are needed such as new trains, additional lines and investments in stations. All this will be spread over a period lasting until 2025.

Although the NMBS Group has approved the investment plan, the federal and regional governments must also give it the thumbs up before it can be implemented. 

NMBS Group made a 2.1 million euro profit during the first 9 months of the year. This compares to losses of 110 million euros in during the first 9 months of 2011. The NMBS’ total debts amount to 3.5 billion euro.